Richard Elliott decided late last week to withdraw as a candidate for School District 27’s Zone 7 (Area J/K) Chilcotin.
Elliott, the incumbent for three years, sighted personal reasons for the decision.
Elliott said that since he didn’t make the decision until after the withdraw deadline, he has written the required letter to election officials asking to withdraw, but he believes this is only a formality.
Elliott, who holds a masters degree in business administration, came to the Cariboo 14 years ago to be principal at the Tl’etinqox (Anaham) band school. He resigned in June to pursue other interests including a long-term goal to work on his doctorate in business.
For the past 12 years he has commuted to Alexis Creek from Williams Lake where he lives with his wife Elaine Elliott, who is from Nemiah Valley and is principal at Marie Sharpe elementary, and daughter, Alexis.
“Over the past several years the board has accomplished several things that I am proud of,” Elliott says.
Among them are steps to protect rural schools and advance rural and home school education with the development of video conferencing. For instance, students in Anahim Lake can take a class in Williams Lake with a teacher who specializes in math or science.
He says the board has also asked the Ministry of Education to differentiate between rural and remote schools and provide more funding to remote schools.
As it is, he says Wildwood, which is only a few kilometres from Williams Lake, receives the same extra funding as a school in the Chilcotin.
He says there needs to be recognition that it costs a lot more to run a school in a remote location that is several hours from the nearest major centre than it does to run a rural school an hour or less outside a major service centre, such as Williams Lake.
Elliott says he also supports the district’s 21st Century Learning initiatives to provide more opportunities for hands-on learning and developing individualized learning plans for students.
“We are finally coming to realize that we can’t use one style of teaching for every student,” Elliott says.
Elliott also believes that moving to a middle school/secondary school model in Williams Lake would save money and provide the opportunity for more elective options for secondary students.
“It’s about the people, not the configuration and I am confident we have the people to make a middle school and a senior school successful,” Elliott says.