Putting students first is a priority for Rob Zacharias, School District 27 candidate for Zone 6, City of Williams Lake.
“I will ask all the right questions to ensure the priorities of our district are as follows: students, teachers, support staff, administration,” Zacharias says. “Students must always come first. The goal is a 100 per cent graduation rate.”
In 2008 when he last served as trustee and finance chair, Zacharias says a reserve fund was created to assist the district in making changes in school configuration needed to deal with falling student enrolment and corresponding reductions in Ministry of Education funding.
He says the current board is slowly eroding that reserve fund without making the tough decisions that need to be made around school reconfiguration.
He says elective options could be maximized for secondary students if one of the Grade 8 to 12 schools in Williams Lake became a middle school and the other became the secondary school. However, he says he would want to see more investigation on possible options before any decision is made on reconfiguration.
Zacharias has lived in Williams Lake since 1996 and is proprietor of Archer Adjusting. He was an on-call firefighter for 10 years and retired from firefighting last March to become the community coroner. He and his fiance, Marika Schnell, have three children, plus a visiting international student, who are all attending lakecity high-schools.
Zacharias says his daughter is one of the reasons that he supports some form of secondary school reconfiguration.
As it is, he says his daughter has to shuttle back and forth between the two Grade 8 to 12 secondary schools in Williams Lake to get the courses she wants.
“What needs to occur is that the board needs to listen to senior management and pass a long-term plan,” Zacharias says. “The key is flexibility because if all of a sudden all of these proposed mines open up we will be prepared for that as well. Unfortunately we have lost over 1,000 students in the past six years and we have done nothing to meet that challenge. It’s time to meet that challenge.”
Zacharias says trustees should call in their vote if they can’t attend a meeting. He also encourages parents to read reports on the district website.