Bill Krusky is one of two challengers to the slate of incumbents for the next Wellington Catholic District School Board.
1) In 100 words or less, what’s your main reason to run for school trustee?
Our Catholic schools are doing a good job of turning out disciplined and capable students who are prepared for post- secondary education. I think it is time for our school board to focus on the evangelization of our student population so they can truly live their faith in the schools and the community. Catholic thinking and values such as the Theology of the Body offer our students practical solutions to current issues and should be taught within the schools. My focus is passing on the Catholic Faith to our children while providing the best education possible.
2) What is the role of school board trustee as you understand it?
A trustee is elected to the school board and is accountable to the community and to the province of Ontario for the education of our youth. A trustee makes decisions on the annual budget, policies, facility maintenance and future planning of school facilities. A trustee also meets with school staff, established committees, parents and students to listen to concerns and bring that information back to the school board.
3) How do you think the relationship currently stands between the Ontario government and your school board?
As I am not currently a board member I cannot comment.
4) The mental health of young people is a growing priority; how will you help insure that schools get the resources they need to address this important issue?
Fifteen to twenty percent of students suffer from anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts. When asked what is causing these feelings students will report it is the school work itself. Whatever the cause the solution involves spiritual, medical and psychological help. Studies have shown that a strong faith helps prevent anxiety and depression and is beneficial in recovery of happiness to those already affected by anxiety and depression. It is my intention as a future board member to ensure that spiritual, medical and psychological help are equally available to our students and staff.
5) Guelph will continue to grow in the next 20 years, where and when should the priority be for new school construction?
It is the role of the school board to carefully watch growth within the city and plan for it based on the statistics. From what I can see in reading the minutes of the Catholic board a constant student population is predicted in the coming year. Building of new schools must consider whether an existing school can be expanded or a new building must be erected. Some of these issues will already be determined by the planning of previous board members.
6) While mayor and council candidates talk about city infrastructure, let’s talk about the infrastructure of our schools. How do our school buildings fare? Are they accessible enough? Are there enough resources to address repairs?
Based on my experience as a manager in business there is never enough money available. I suspect this is also the case with the Catholic schools. I have been in many of the school buildings. This includes both Catholic and public schools. Both school systems are doing a good job in maintaining the structures. Accessibility is an ongoing program and must be considered whenever renovating or building new schools. I will continue that focus as a future board member.
7) What can the school board do to give teachers the resources to improve how students learn in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses?
First of all I will identify myself in the science group as I trained as a microbiologist. When I talk to young people and ask them what they plan to do in post- secondary education they have a rough idea of their future. This is the most important step in the education process. I believe every student has a God given set of skills that already determines their future. It is the role of educators to teach and inspire students in the various studies so they can find that career or job they were meant to do. I think a good grounding in grammar, writing and mathematics early in the student’s education is fundamental to the student’s success whether they end up in the arts or sciences. The school board members should be open to funding whatever technologies or programs improve student learning.
8) What’s an example of something that Guelph schools are doing well versus schools in other board jurisdictions?
As I am not familiar with other board jurisdictions I cannot comment on this question.
9) FRENCH IMMERSION: If you’re running in the Upper Grand District School Board, how do you think the board has handled the pressure of demand for French Immersion? If you’re running in the Wellington Catholic District School Board, should the board be looking at developing its own French Immersion programs to help relieve the pressure?
As with all programs the main concern will be funding. I am in favour of language training within our schools and immersion is the best way to turn out bilingual students. The Catholic board members will have to be sensitive to all needs within the schools and decide how we can most effectively spend tax dollars. But immersion programs are a good use of public money.
10) There’s a political question about dissolving the Catholic and separate school board system and creating one school board, what’s your opinion on the issue?
This question suggests there would be cost savings in a school board merger. Schools would still need to maintain class size and teacher numbers and the cost per student for education would remain the same. The current system with Catholic trustees in charge means Catholic values and faith can better be considered in all board decisions and policies. I oppose any school board merger.
11) Is there an issue concerning education or public schools you feel needs more attention? What is it, and why?
I believe the Catholic school board can play a bigger role in the evangelization of our Catholic youth. This can be done is small ways such as ensuring that good Catholic literature is available in all school libraries and by reaching out to Catholic evangelistic ministries that can provide extra- curricular activities for our youth. There are many ways to evangelize and I believe this should be a focal point for our school board. The need for this to occur is obvious to any Catholic attending church on Sundays. The youth are not there in the numbers we see in the schools. Both parents and the school board need to do a better job of passing on faith that will sustain our kids in the present life and into the next one.
12) For someone that doesn’t have kids in school, why should they care about who’s running for school board?
A large portion of our tax dollars are spent on education. The future of our world is in the hands of young people. The school board trustees affect the culture and quality of education through their decisions. This in turn affects the quality of our future citizens. I think the selection of school trustees is crucial in setting a direction for our schools.
13) Where can people learn more about you, or your campaign, and how can they get in touch with you?