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Civic Election 2018  

Nicole Makohoniuk

Nicole Makohoniuk

School District 22 Trustee candidate

Nicole Makohoniuk is 47 years young, has lived in Vernon for 37 years, she is a mom to three great kids and a second mom to one, all of which were educated in Vernon. 

She has been an Early Childhood Educator for 25 years, Realtor for 3 years, program coordinator for Teen Junction 2.5 years.

For 12 years Nicole supported education in Vernon. Nicole served on various Parent Advisory Councils, holding the positions of District Parent Advisory Council representative, vice-president and president. 

Nicole served as DPAC member at large, DPAC vice-president, and DPAC president. 

Provincially, Nicole served as president of the British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. Nicole knows the system at all levels and the people involved.

My reason for running is simple, “to continue to support student success through collaboration and ingenuity”. 

I have a passion for public education, I learned here, my children learn here, and my grandchildren will learn here as well. 

We have great teachers, support staff, and administrators that we need to support so all students can succeed, and I want to be a part of the continuation of building that great team!

Questions

1) Why should voters cast a ballot for you October 20? Experience:
 

  • Over the past 12 years, I served on various Parent Advisory Councils, District Parent Advisory Council, and BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. I know the BC Education system and the people involved, I will use this to the advantage of School District #22.
  • I coordinated educational events for youth, parents, caregivers, teachers, and administration that included and promoted community partnerships. I will continue to explore those options to advance public education in Vernon.
  • My experience and training in advocating for youth and families will help create inclusive polices and procedures for all.

Expectations:

  • I will help create new policies that will promote communication with all SD# 22’s partner groups.
  • I will attend various meetings throughout the year to promote school board engagement.
  • I will listen to the school district’s partner and community groups to better understand their needs and work towards fair and equitable solutions.

2) What is the biggest issue facing the Vernon School District, and as a member of the board of education, how would you work to address this issue?

The great thing about our district is that we have more learning opportunities than most school districts, as Joe Rogers said at our first professional development day “our district is a shining example of a district that is often used provincially.”

Areas of concern are:

Fiscal Responsibility

SD# 22 has a Budget of approximately $110,000,000.00 yet many of the board members have little training. We need to have more training opportunities for those trustees who may need a little extra support, to be brought up to speed.

As DPAC President, I witnessed many years where consultation with partner groups was either an afterthought or something they felt they had to do, this year was no exception. DPAC, teachers, administration, and CUPE get a notice in March or April for budget consultation for a budget that gets approved at the end of the month. How can we have a meaningful, inclusive discussion in that short time frame? To do this we would need to do a policy change which leads me to our next issue

Policy

I have concerns about some policies in our district. For example, we have a transportation policy where students must live beyond 2.4 kilometres from a school, to get a bus ride to school, but the policy does not look at the safety of our students or location and we are cutting bus routes and charging courtesy riders. 

Student safety is number one and if they have to walk down a road that is not properly maintained or where drivers are often speeding.

Through creating a better engagement process we will have an open dialogue that can continue so we can have better communication with the partner groups as we are about to go through contract negotiations.

We need to advocate and have a voice in the new funding formula to make sure there are supports for our students to learn and grow. To do this we need to work together with our partner groups to advocate at a provincial level.

3) Balancing a budget while providing quality education means sometimes making difficult decisions that affect the lives of young children. Can you provide an example of a time when you were forced to make a difficult decision that affected the lives of many?

The decision I made that impacted my life and the lives of many others happened during the last labour action from teachers. 

At that time I was president of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) and feeling pressured from both the Ministry of Education and BC Teachers Federation to do something or say something.

Situation

Teachers were planning to continue their labour action into September and I was hearing the stress from parents, students, and teachers. Teachers were working hard to get the best results for the students and for their members.

Ministry’s goal was to get the students back to school within the money available.

Task

How can BCCPAC represent the parent voice in a time where everyone is torn, and membership has people on both sides?

Action nBCCPAC brought together parent representatives from all over BC, representing 85% of families.

After the labour action, BCCPAC brought together all the partner groups to discuss the Educational needs of students and a new way to fund student learning.

Result

BCCPAC put out a statement that we thought represented the parent voice, causing anger from some teachers and some BCCPAC members.

For the first time BCCPAC spoke up, and for the first time, many parents felt like they had a voice.

I was concerned that membership would go down and this would cause a decline in funding for BCCPAC, however, membership increased by 15%.

In School District #22 tough decisions will have to made. 

We won’t all agree, and the important thing is that you communicate and listen with respect and strive towards understanding all sides and have a result that is in the best interest of the students.

 



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