- by Jennifer Miller

The way I see it is that a Trustee is an elected official that serves two purposes: advocate on behalf of the community they represent; act as stewards of the resources of the school board. In other words, be the voice and keep folks honest. Seems easy enough but there are some inherent flaws. What if the interests of your constituents do not align with the school board you are supposed to support and in essence work for? I suspect that the frequency of this discord happens regularly.

Although not new to the education arena, I have much to learn. For example, of the 43 schools in Bluewater District School Board, only 5 are not classified as rural and those are all in the Owen Sound district. In the 2018-2019 budget there are several fantastic line items that allocate much needed resources (over $530,000) to the 38 rural schools. The same cannot be said for the Owen Sound schools.

I also don't understand how each school gets a fixed allotment of $2,600 for discretionary use regardless of the size of the student population. There seems to be a formula for everything...why isn't there one applied by the school board to take the ministry stipend and make it relevant to the number of students enrolled? Are teachers expected to cover the difference?

I have many other questions including the allocation of $466,000 into reserves and $400,000 to reducing the unsupported debt which is primarily made up of the $6.9 million left owning on the administration building in Chelsey. Yet there is only $139,585 allocated to the repair and replacement of playgrounds and shop equipment for all 42 schools. What about consolidated schools that have no playgrounds at all? Parents are expected to fundraise to pay for this while the school board's strategic plan makes student well-being a priority? Like I said, if elected, I will have much to learn.

Jennifer Miller is the past co-chair of the Parent Involvement Committee, past president of the School Council of Bayview prior to closure, was a member of the ARC Review Committee, member of People for Education, co-chair of the first School Council of newly formed East Ridge Community School, alternate for the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) for Autism Ontario Grey Bruce, past president of Autism Ontario Grey Bruce, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Owen Sound, managing partner in a successful management consulting firm and a mom of an amazing child with special needs enrolled in an Owen Sound elementary school.

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