Back to School:
– Esquimalt Beat Cop Calls for Esquimalt Voice on Victoria School Board
As Esquimalt students return to school this month, it is important to note that there are currently no Esquimalt residents serving as School Trustees on the Greater Victoria School Board. David Bratzer is a VicPD officer who has spent many hours patrolling Esquimalt during his six years of police service. He has taken a leave of absence to campaign as a District # 61 school board candidate in this fall’s municipal elections. David writes this guest column as an important reminder to Esquimalt residents about School District issues. If you are an Esquimalt resident who cares about our schools, please consider joining David Bratzer in running for School Board.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE?
-By David Bratzer
Esquimalt lies within the boundaries of the Greater Victoria School District (also known as District 61). Roughly 19,000 students, from Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, attend school in this large district. Its geographic area also includes Oak Bay, View Royal, Victoria and the southern half of Saanich.
The total budget of District 61 is $172 million. This is similar in size to the Municipality of Saanich. A percentage of your property taxes helps to fund school maintenance, teacher salaries and other expenses. Your contribution ranges from a few hundred dollars to over one thousand dollars each year. The exact amount depends on the value of your home.
In addition to approving the budget each year, school board trustees set the strategic direction of the district. They develop policies to promote a healthy and safe learning environment. As elected officials, their role is to represent the entire community in matters related to the education of children.
There are nine trustees for District 61. They serve three year terms and the elections are held on the same day as municipal elections. This year, the election will occur on November 19th. This day is a real opportunity for you to influence how our precious education dollars will be spent.
Some Esquimalt residents may not realize they are eligible to vote in the school board elections. There is no requirement for you to have a child enrolled in the district in order to vote. You can vote for as many as nine candidates on the ballot, or you can select fewer names if you prefer. The choice is up to you.
I’ve been going to school board meetings for almost two years in an effort to learn about the key issues in District 61. If you have any questions, please give me a call at (250) 813-2117. You can also visit my web site at www.bratzer.net.
FAST FACTS ON DISTRICT 61:
– District population of 200,000
– Approximately 19,000 students
– 2800 employees
– Budget of $172 million
– 28 elementary schools
– 10 middle schools
– 7 secondary schools
– 9 elected trustees (3 year terms)
For more information about School District #61, go to: http://sd61.bc.ca/