Don Sabo wants to see the Board of Education for School District 57 become a truly district-wide board.
“I would like to see greater geographic representation on the board,” Sabo, who is running for one of seven trustee spots in the Nov. 15 election, says. “I would like to see the board have someone from the Robson Valley and someone from Mackenzie on it.”
Those positions would be voted on by the voters specific to those regions, he says, while the other five trustees would be voted on by Prince George.
“It’s an idea they’re already using in Kamloops, where they have two of their seven trustees dedicated to outlying areas. Kelowna does it as well.
“I think someone from the Robson Valley, elected by the people of the Robson Valley, would have a better idea of what the issues are facing their schools.”
Sabo also sees a need in the district for more work on Aboriginal education.
“I sit on the Aboriginal Education Board,” he says, “and I found out only 56 per cent of Aboriginal students entering Grade 8 go on to graduate, compared to 82 per cent of non-Aboriginal students.
“If we can raise the rate of Aboriginal graduation, then we raise the rate of the district as a whole.”
He sees early intervention as a key element.
“We need to work more closely with service providers in the classrooms to identify ‘problem’ students and get them the help they may need.”
While he is happy to see 18 candidates in the running for the trustee positions, Sabo says it would be easier for them to be heard by higher levels of government is there was more voter input.
“I think it means a lot more if our provincial representatives know I speak for the 20,000 people who voted for me, instead of 5,000. Those are the same voters they need in their elections, so they know they have to pay more attention to their needs.”
Sabo served for three years as the chairperson of the district’s Parent Advisory Council, and says that gave him a better idea of how the education system works in Prince George and at the provincial level.