Tony Ward

ELECTION: School trustee City candidate Tony Ward

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

Tony Ward

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Running for school trustee in the City of Langley

Asset management technician at the Township of Langley (engineering division/parks operations department), 46

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Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: No.

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Candidate provided bio:

As a father of three school-age children (in three different Langley schools), he has a personal stake in providing good governance. A 25-year Township of Langley employee in a broad range of roles, Tony understands the diverse school district responsibilities and public accountability.

Tony strongly supports French Immersion, Fine Arts, Fundamental schools, and entrepreneurial programs that challenge students to cultivate creativity and engage their peers. Maximized resources and opportunities enable students to pursue excellence.

Trustees need to engage parents throughout their child’s educational journey as well as ensure open dialogue, transparency, and well-thought decisions.

Let’s enrich our staff, edify our schools, and engage our students.

Every child is precious; children are our greatest investment in our community’s future.

After all, community starts with kids..

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Facebook: search Tony Ward for Langley School Trustee

Telephone number voters can reach you at: 604-530-8786

Email: tonyward4trustee@gmail.com

Who is your favourite superhero, and why?

My daughter Kacey. There are so many reasons why. She inspires me to do my best because she works so hard at school and everything she does. In particular, she is an athlete. She runs like the wind. Even though she is only in grade 7 she just recently came in second place (next only to a grade 12 boy) in the Terry Fox Run at the Langley Fundamental Elementary School. She will be embarrassed, if and when, she sees this since she is humble about her accomplishments. Kacey, you inspire me :).

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There are 12 candidates running for seven positions on Langley School Board. The following are questions asked of each trustee hopeful. They were directed to provide a minimum of a Yes, No, or Don’t Know answer, and given an option to expand on one answer in print (to a maximum of 100 words per question). They could expand on all questions online, if they wished to do so. The following are their replies.

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Questions and Answers:

1. What neighbourhood of Langley do you live in?

Answer: Brookswood

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2. How many years have you lived in Langley?

Answer: 46 years (my whole life).

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3. How many Langley School Board meetings have you attended in the past year?

Answer: One.

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4: Do you support the use of the SOGI resources in Langley schools?

Answer: Don’t know.

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5. Should school districts once again have authority over municipal school taxation?

Answer: Don’t know.

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6. Are school administrators overpaid?

Answer: Don’t know. This is a challenging issue. All administrators are top notch in Langley as far as I can tell. Gordon Stewart is a competent, and strong leader for this district. We are well served by him and other district administration staff. I have seen their compensation and it is significant and we need to be careful not to overpay since it is public dollars at stake. However, you do get what you pay for. If we want an excellent system we need to be prepared to pay for it.

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7. Should the province have the power to dismiss school boards?

Answer: No. This is provincial overreach plain and simple.

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8. Should Langley offer incentives to attract more teachers?

Answer: Yes. Acquiring good teachers is a real issue, especially when we have a shortage. This is an import thing to consider. I would be interested in finding a way to offer an incentive which would promote the idea of teachers living in the community where they work.

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9. Do schools rely too much of parent fundraising efforts?

Answer: Yes, but this seems necessary unfortunately due to lack of adequate provincial funding.

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10. Should the district do more to lobby for new schools in the faster growing areas?

Answer: Don’t know. This question presupposes that the district is not lobbying enough. I am not confident that this is the case. Our senior management, as well as preceding school trustee boards have been very competent in working hard to address this issue. I will continue supporting their approach.

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11. Do you think the province is underfunding public education?

Answer: Yes, this is evident when you look at the whole picture. Parent Advisory Councils are made up of wonderful parents who do such a great, and often thankless, job endlessly looking to raise money to pay for things like playgrounds etc. which should already be adequately funded. Many of the elements that PACs work so hard to fund seem to be necessary, not optional, components of school facilities and for this reason the province should fund them.

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12. Should the school district solicit corporate money by way of sponsorship to fund education?

Answer: Don’t know. Though corporate money could help bridge the gap in areas of lack, we have to be careful so as to not end up being beholden to corporations if it is not in the best interest of children and the schools.

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13. Should the school district cut down on using technology, like iPads and computers – to save money?

Answer: Don’t know. Technology changes so quickly. I would look at keeping good tech in schools, but perhaps not feeling the need to always get the newest version. For example, our family has an older iPad which still has all its functionality so it does not make sense, for us, to purchase a newer one.

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14. Should the district have a strategy to reduce portables?

Answer: Yes. For areas like Willoughby we should consider building new schools with more floors. We need to think ahead 30 to 50 years because well built schools will last that long and longer so let’s make sure they will meet the future demand.

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15. Should we re-instate the previous busing boundaries for students?

Answer: Don’t know. Like all issues, we have to think carefully about this. We are a growing community and issues like this need constant review.

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16. Should students requiring extra attention – such as ESL or those with behavioural or learning disabilities – betaught separately from other students?

Answer: Don’t know. I have talked to a number of teachers in this field and there are pros and cons. Very challenging issue which I will defer to the professionals. We need to listen to all stakeholders when we make decisions which will have significant impact.

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17. Do you support increasing the amount of international students to help fund education?

Answer: Don’t know. We get funding this way, but we need to balance the idea of access to funding from the financial gain from the cost per student charged with the needs of our schools with our children. We do not want to become reliant on a revenue stream where it creates a negative impact on school infrastructure, facilities, class space, and resident student opportunities.

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18. Should a trustee live in the community they want to serve in?

Answer: Yes, a trustee who wants to serve on the Langley School Board of Trustees should live in Langley.

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19. Should there be a limit to the number of consecutive terms a trustee can serve?

Answer: No. Rod Ross, Alison McVeigh, and others have been excellent trustees as well as others whose contributions would have been sorely missed had they not had the opportunity to serve as long as they have. We have the solid school district we have here in Langley in large part to long serving trustees.

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20. Should the district redevelop vacant school sites to bring in revenue?

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Don’t know. Each location and each situation needs to be reviewed. This is not the kind of question that is good as a yes or no. All opportunities with respect to assets like property have to be seriously considered. Additionally, we have to be very careful before selling a property if it is in a key location since we have to be mindful of future school district needs.

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