Kate Cooke is aiming for more in her run for a second term on the Board of Education for School District 57.
“There are more goals we can still reach as a board,” Cooke says. “I would like to see more transparency and accountability from senior management. I would like to see more boldness from trustees.
“There’s a lot more work to be done.”
She would also like to see more engagement for parents and teaches with the board, as well as an acknowledgement from the provincial government of the funding needs of this district and others in the province.
Looking back on her first three years on the board, Cooke can point to a number of things she’s proud of.
“Our adoption of an LGBTQ (sexual orientation) policy was a very positive step. Some of the others felt the existing policies were adequate, but I said we needed to rethink this.
“it’s a very progressive policy when compared to other boards.”
She also likes the way the board was able to get more of its committees open to the public.
“The confidentiality clause was lifted for some of the committees, which means our partner groups can attend the meetings.”
She says the current board, which had five of the seven members first elected in 2011, was “relatively professional with each other.”
“There was some eye-rolling at each other at times, but having so many new members probably helped, since we were all learning together.”
Now, with the next set of trustees being elected for four years, she says working together will be even more important.
“Four years is a long time to be on the same board. Maintaining professionalism will be important.”
She would like to se the next board take steps on the financial front in a couple of ways.
“We need more site-based management. The schools can make the best decisions on dealing with their needs. There would still need to be some parameter in place, but let the individual schools decide where their funding should go.”
Cooke would also like to see the board become more pro-active at budget time.
“We have to submit a balanced budget, but I would like to the board put out a report on a restorative budget. We all admit we’re struggling with funding, but we can’t come up with numbers to show how.”