Q&A – School Board – Dave Stevenson

1. What community involvement have you had? How many school board meetings have you attended in the past 3 years?
I have lived in West Vancouver my entire life and have been active in numerous community activities during that time.  My first notable trip to Municipal Hall was as a student to lobby for the construction of an indoor pool at the West Vancouver Recreation Centre.  I have been back to both buildings many times since.  I have served on more than thirty municipal and community committees in my professional life and as a school trustee beginning in 1985, including most recently the Family Court Youth Justice Committee and the North Shore Substance Abuse Working Group.  I have had broad involvement with church, and coaching elementary, high school, and community sports teams.  I have deep roots; my family settled in West Vancouver in the 1940s.  I love my community and have, like many others, added my energy to the West Van we all enjoy.
I have attended almost every board meeting for the last 21 years while serving as one of West Vancouver’s school trustees on the Board of Education.

2. What are the challenges facing the school district? How would you address them?
Our school district needs to continue making effective teaching our number one priority to assist all our students to have the best possible learning experience.
This is accomplished by being current with the best methods.  As a member of the Board of Education, I monitor and support new programs and professional development for all our staff.
One challenge facing SD45 is the changing demographics in the school district.  As our community welcomes families from all over the world we continue to provide a great classroom experience, aided by our support staff members who assist with the adjustment to a new set of learning and cultural expectations.   There is opportunity to grow together as we live in an increasingly blended community.  As a board member I keep the reality of the new West Vancouver in my thinking and planning for new services.
The Board of Education is continuing to engage all members of our community to rebuild the confidence in public education.  The key element is to create a more effective working relationship with our teaching staff to move the focus from labour issues to student issues.   At the same time the Board will continue to advocate with Victoria for a budget that supports the increasing cost of providing effective and high quality classroom education.

The Board also needs to keep our aging facilities in the best possible condition through ongoing pro-active maintenance, and I will continue to advocate for a 10 year action plan for building renewal in partnership with Victoria.
The Board of Education needs to build on its history of implementation of innovative programs and initiatives that improve student outcomes and create motivated students.
The Board of Education also needs to continue looking for shared service savings with our education and municipal partners for effective and efficient resource allocation.  I will continue to look for the best deal for our taxpayers.

3. What makes an effective school board?
An effective Board of Education engages in broad community consultation,
has an open transparent process of governance, has full and open discussion of all issues at the Board table, is proactive in planning for the future, respects the diversity of community opinion, keeps an active review of all financial accounts, and works as a corporate board that respects individual trustees and speaks with one voice.  For most of the past 21 years that I have served as one of your school trustees, I have been part of such a Board.

4. What action might be taken to compensate for financial losses caused by reduced enrollment of international students?
Currently the enrollment of the International Student Program of our school district is at peak levels.  The program has been built with an incredible thoughtfulness to ensure the arriving students are prepared to have both academic success and an outstanding experience in our community.  The program brings students from a variety of countries around the world, which mitigates our financial risk.  Our International Student Program has a long history of providing revenue which assists with our funding to keep the West Vancouver school district a wonderful place to learn and teach.  I will continue to monitor that we are meeting the needs of our local students while also providing space and support for international students.   I have several ideas I would like to explore with the new board to diversify revenue opportunities for SD45.

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