Members of the school board must put the needs of the students first, the six Summerland trustee candidates said during a forum on Tuesday evening.
The candidates, running for two Summerland positions on the Okanagan Skaha School Board, presented their credentials and outlined their platforms.
Linda Beaven, a former teacher at Summerland Secondary School and the co-founder of the Good Will Shakespeare Festival, said students in smaller classes will do better academically than those in larger classrooms.
“Smaller class sizes are crucial for effective education,” she said.
Terry Green, who taught in Summerland and later was the head of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers’ Union, said if elected he will seek consensus on decisions and will try to limit the number of closed-door meetings.
He also talked about the importance of hearing from all involved before making a decision.
“I am willing to make myself available to anyone,” he said.
Dale MacDonald, the recreation director for the municipality, said the quality of education in Summerland was a factor he considered when moving to the community 22 years ago.
He said efforts need to continue to support teachers, staff and students.
“It’s all about what we put in place for the children,” he said.
Rob Melle, who has worked in education for 20 years, said it is important to put the students first.
“My number one focus is the children and what is best for them.”
Christine Petkau, who has spent 13 years in employment services, said a good educational base is important to prepare people for work in the future.
“The efforts to keep our children in school begin in kindergarten,” she said. “Success in school will lead to success later in life.”
Incumbent Linda Van Alphen, a trustee for nine years, said she believes in making decisions to benefit the students.
“My primary concern has always been guided by what is best for the students,” she said. “To me, that’s what being a trustee is all about.”
The election for council and school trustees will be held on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Giant’s Head School and Summerland Secondary School. Voting hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Advance voting will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 16 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Municipal Hall.