By David Bratzer
This November 19th, you will get to choose who runs your schools. Your sons, daughters, nieces and nephews are counting on you to make an informed decision at the municipal voting booth about the future of their education.

James Bay lies entirely within the borders of the Greater Victoria School District (SD #61). Roughly 19,000 students, from Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, attend school in this district. Its boundaries include Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, View Royal, the southern half of Saanich and parts of the Highlands. It is one of the largest and most influential districts in the province.

Did you know the total budget of District 61 is similar in size to that of the City of Victoria? Approximately one third of your property taxes are used to fund school maintenance, teacher salaries and other expenses. Yet another reason to choose trustees wisely.

In addition to approving the budget each year, school board trustees set the strategic direction of the district. They develop policies to promote healthy and safe learning environments. As elected officials, their role is to represent the entire community in matters related to the education of children.

I have been attending school board meetings for two years in an effort to learn about what is happening in District 61. In my view, some of the key issues include provincial funding downloads, long term district planning, labour relations, Aboriginal student education, and the education of children with special needs.

As you can see, school trustees may have a lower profile than municipal councillors, but they are vital stewards of public education in our community. There are nine trustees for District 61. They serve three year terms and the elections are held on the same day as municipal elections.

You need not have a child in school in order to vote in the election. You can vote for as many as nine candidates on the ballot, or you can select fewer names if you prefer.

The choice is up to you.