Katie Blaxland is a homemaker and mother of three children. She has a degree in anthorpology and a diploma in project management. She ennjoys volunteering with the PAC and spending time with her family outdoors.
What do you think are the top issues facing School District 27?
The current issues in our district requiring the most attention would be to resolve the conflict between the stakeholder groups in School District #27. It seems as though all groups are ready for a positive change and want to move forward in a manner that would benefit everyone. I am certain that the trustees who will be elected will make this their first priority.
Why do you want to be a school board trustee?
My interest in being a school board trustee stems from my desire to be more involved in the school system. I have three children commencing their education, so therefore I have a vested interest in the quality of education that they will be provided in the coming years. I would like to learn more about what drives the district while collaborating with the trustees on the board in order to assist in maintaining a high level of education for all of the students in the district.
How would you go about improving relationships within the district in light of last year’s vote of non-confidence by the CCTA?
There are many ways to improve relationships but I would start by building and strengthening those relationships and moving the narrative in a positive direction through communicating, listening, acknowledging and working together with all of the stakeholders through respectful and constructive interactions. Following through on the key issues and concerns and showing results would also be effective.
What are your thoughts on how the province funds districts?
The province uses a complex equation to determine how each district is funded – based on the number of students enrolled in the district. The province is planning a revision to this funding model to reflect a more needs-based formula as opposed to a per-pupil formula. Should a needs-based system be adopted, this might benefit SD #27 since funding would be assessed by determining how much money the district would need to retain staff, provide programs and maintain and operate facilities.
Would you support the closure of schools when their population drops below a sustainable level?
The topic of school closures is certainly a complex and sensitive one and is never taken lightly. When schools are closed, it is usually a last resort and many factors are considered before that type of decision is made. When it doesn’t become feasible any longer, then schools do have to be closed and I would not be opposed to this.
What would you like to see in local schools that isn’t there now?
Our district has a multitude of diverse programs and it is doing a great job of maintaining these. We have Strong Starts, Nature Kindergarten, French Immersion, Outdoor Classrooms to name a few. I would like to see more outdoor learning programs, but I feel as though the district is doing well with this already. Getting kids outside, being active, learning about nature, the environment and the greater world are topics I would be passionate about incorporating into the curriculum but I feel as though this is not lacking.
What could be done to attract and retain teachers in this district?
I personally feel that teachers could be attracted to our district through the affordability and welcoming spirit of the Cariboo. I am relatively new to Williams Lake and have never felt more welcomed through the sense of community that the area encompasses. The cost of living in the Cariboo could also be a negotiating point as it is very affordable to live here and the quality of life is excellent. I would think these points alone would attract many teachers from all over the province.