Municipal election 2018: Meet the SCDSB trustees

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Due to a boundary change, two incumbents are running for the position of trustee for Clearview, Adjala-Tosorontio, Essa and CFB Borden. Brandy Rafeek is trustee for Adjala-Tosorontio, Essa and CFB Borden and Robert North is trustee for Penetanguishene, Tiny, Wasaga Beach. They are both running in the newly created ward. We asked them to answer the following questions:  

Robert North

1. Why did you decide to run for school trustee representing Clearview, Adjala-Tosorontio, and Essa?

2. How do you best convey to the voter the role of trustee?

1. As we enter the next four years, experience will be critical in areas such as education. The provincial government has signaled a change in direction due to the province’s debt and leaders in education will need to approach decisions with extreme care.

I have had the honour of being a Trustee with the board for 13 of the last 15 years and feel that this extensive experience will serve the students, families, and taxpayers of Clearview well. I have been Chair and Vice Chair of the board and am comfortable with large budgets, complex issues, and speaking with all stakeholders.

I have a track record of attracting capital investments in our schools and participating in making positive policy and program decisions for our students and families. I intend to continue this advocacy, even in this new fiscal climate.

This role demands experience. I would be honoured to continue my service.

2. School Board Trustees are both similar to, but different from municipal councillors.

Like councillors, we develop legislation, allocate and prioritize budgets, and assist constituents to resolve issues. We advocate for the needs of our area and the needs of our county both internally and with other government levels.

Unlike councillors, we do not have the power of taxation, so are limited in more areas than municipal government. Instead of having a Mayor and Deputy, we select a Chair and Vice Chair from our group. I have been fortunate to have been selected twice for these roles by my peers.

A School Board Trustee is expected to champion the cause of Public Education with those they interact with and be able to explain all decisions.

The SCDSB has a combined operating and capital budget of $800 million, employs 6,000 people, operates over 100 schools, and most importantly, serves over 50,000 students.

Visit: www.2018vote.ca. 

Brandy Rafeek

1. I have three children, in Grades 6, 11 and 12. I have always been an active volunteer in my children’s schools, as it is extremely important to me to have relationships with the other students in their schools, as well as the teachers, administration, and all staff members. 

I have spent many years chairing school councils (elementary, secondary and Parent Involvement Committee -school board level), organizing parent engagement events, and various fundraisers. One of my favourite projects was working with my fellow community members to develop, implement and maintain a breakfast club at my children’s elementary school. Throughout my volunteering I have seized every chance that I was given to attend conferences, engagement sessions, workshops, etc. Each of these learning opportunities and experiences left me constantly wanting to learn more, and to become even more involved. In May 2018, when an opening became available, I was thrilled to be appointed as interim Trustee for our area. I am absolutely loving my new role, and would love to be elected, and to serve my community for the next four years. 

2. I feel one of my most important roles as a school Trustee, is to help families navigate their way through the education system.  There is a lot of information out there for families to access, and ways for people to find answers to their questions.  But sometimes it can be difficult to find your way through the system, if you are not familiar with it.  As school Trustee, I will work to be an effective and informed link between our community members and the school board, as I believe this is crucial to the success of our students and families.

Another role of a Trustee is to establish policy direction. The decisions that are made by the board, have a significant impact on day to day school life. Trustees have input into policies and procedures at the committee level, as well as at the board table. It is important that Trustees are prepared, ask questions and are engaged in this process.

Contact: [email protected], 705-423-1113, facebook.com/brandyrafeek.

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