School board contenders faceoff

Four trustee candidates compete for three seats in the Hope electoral area

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Fraser-Cascade board of education in the Hope electoral area.

Patricia Furness is challenging incumbents Linda McMullan, Jim Sinclair and Marv Cope.

Furness grew up in Hope and worked as a nurse before starting her own business, Hometown Footcare. She believes it’s time for a change and a new voice at the board table.

“School trustees need to get into the schools to find out what is actually happening in the classrooms,” said Furness.

“See what the teachers have to deal with, see what the students are doing and saying. Talk to the kids and talk to the parents, and attend school functions.”

She feels the district’s priorities are addressing declining enrolment, attracting high-quality teachers to Hope, and increasing provincial funding for local schools.

Unfinished business is one of the reasons driving Linda McMullan to seek her second term as a trustee. She wants to develop a relevant strategic plan for the district, as well as a personalized learning program for all schools.

“I know it’s expensive, but I think it’s a good model to look at,” said McMullan, who is the current board chair.

“I think by adapting our programs to meet individualized learning requirements, we’ll make the school district more attractive. I think it’s time we started listening to students too. I’ve found them to be excellent sources of information and feedback.”

Improving communication between students, teachers and parents is Jim Sinclair’s main issue this election, aside from addressing declining enrolment.

“Communication is the key to move forward in our district,” said Sinclair, who has served as a trustee in this district for 30 years.

“To see students reach their maximum success we need to understand what it will take to help them get there.”

Even though he has been battling health issues during the last term, Sinclair points out his involvement in elementary school as a buddy reader and his work with students in alternate programs has helped them achieve their goals.

Former Silver Creek Elementary School principal Marv Cope is also seeking his fifth term as a trustee. However, he did not respond for comment by press deadline.

In the canyon electoral area, Tom Hendrickson has been voted in by acclamation.