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Opinion: Why you should consider running as a Sea to Sky School district trustee this fall

I want you to know that voting for trustees in your local election is important, and that people from all parts of our community should consider running for office.

My name is Rick Price, and I am a local school trustee.

I have spent 40 years working for the Sea to Sky School District, first as a teacher, then as a principal and now as a trustee. I want you to know that voting for trustees in your local election is important, and that people from all parts of our community should consider running for office.

Trustees put the public in public education. Some provinces have removed boards of education, but there is no evidence that this decision benefits kids or makes education more responsive, inclusive, or even cheaper. In fact, the opposite is true. Taxpayers in areas without publicly-elected trustees pay more to get less. The simple act of voting supports public education.

A trustee’s work is done in a context of collaboration between the board and dedicated, skilled professional staff.

Together, we strive to create the conditions that lead to engaged student learning. It is very rewarding.

Running for school board is a great idea if you do so for the right reasons. Effective trustees approach the job with an understanding of collaboration and compromise. Their loyalty is to the students through the board’s strategic plan, rather than any one narrow agenda or political group. As a trustee, you will have input into the district’s strategic plan, and once your board (in consultation with the community) has mapped out the path forward, you support the collective vision of the board.

I make a difference by always seeking to collaborate with district staff and other trustees while constantly learning about effective public governance. I also help bridge the gap between the broader community and the public school system, right up to and including the Minister of Education and Child Care.

Serving on the board of education allows me to be part of a team that has changed the culture of learning in my district, resulting in significant improvement in graduation rates, especially for Indigenous students. By extension, it has improved the life chances of many in our community. I have been able to contribute to the education of trustees from around the province through my work with the British Columbia School Trustee Association (BCSTA). I would like my legacy to be that I improved equity, diversity and inclusion in Sea to Sky. These opportunities are available to anyone willing to take on this work.

Voters need diverse candidates in the upcoming election on Oct. 15.

I am an older, middle-class white male, and I come with privilege and biases that accompany that background.

But we need a wide variety of voices, experiences and aspirations, and I would especially encourage anyone from an under-represented group to seek public office. Please consider running for trustee to bring your own lived experiences to the table.

The provincial government has plenty of information to guide those who want to run. 

If you do not intend to put your name on the ballot, be sure to vote. Voting is important because kids are important: it is a simple, significant act of investment in the future of our children.

This opinion column was contributed by the British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA)