Brent Larsen

ELECTION: School trustee Township candidate Brent Larsen

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

Brent Larsen

Running for school trustee in the Township of Langley

Business owner, 43

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

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Candidate provided bio:

Local businessman, Brent Larsen, loves the mission of the Langley School District: “To Inspire All Learners To Reach Their Full Potential And Create a Positive Legacy for the future.” Brent has owned and operated three businesses from the age of 20. Two businesses were sold and he continues to operate the third. In 2011 he was successful on Dragons’ Den. He lives in Murrayville with his wife, Jill, and two children. Prior to this they lived in Willoughby and Walnut Grove. Brent grew up in South Surrey/White Rock.

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Website: www.brentleadership.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/brentlarsenschooltrustee

Who is your favourite superhero, and why? Popeye ‘cause he eats spinach.

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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: Murrayville and prior we lived in Willoughby.

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2. How many years have you lived in Langley?

Answer: 7 years.

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

Answer: Two.

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

Answer: No. I’ve met the friendly, well-spoken man who is the BC SOGI lead. I have family and friends that deal with the things being taught in SOGI123. It needs to be addressed and children have to be loved through what they are dealing with. Therefore, I respect the people implementing SOGI123 and those who are standing for these children that need a voice. I, like many parents, don’t agree with the how. I have no dislike for anyone. No, I don’t support SOGI123. We need to work together and listen to all parents and find solutions.

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

Answer: No. There are already too many level of government taxing residents.

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6. Are school administrators overpaid?

Answer: No. But I would need to see more stats on how they compare to other districts. Also turn-over and job satisfaction would be interesting to see. We need satisfied staff. I know in my business admin staff are critical to a functioning organization.

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

Answer: Yes. There needs to be financial accountability even for a board. Boards need to operate within their budgets just like families do.

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8. Should Langley offer incentives to attract more teachers?

Answer: Yes. However, also incentivize current teachers. As an employer it is always best to hire the best and keep the best. Teachers are awesome and need the tools to do their jobs efficiently.

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

Answer: No. I think it is great parents are engaged and raising money. Good for them but I believe they need to spend it rather than keeping it in cash.

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

Answer:

Yes. We need to get funds ahead of the curve and build, especially in areas like Willoughby/Yorkson. We just need to build our case with provincial government. Families deserve their children to have a place from the beginning. Nobody likes to be shuffled and the uncertainty. I have skills I can bring in negotiations and build bridges with the right people to get this done.

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

Answer: Don’t know. I would need to see the stats and how they compare to other provinces and internationally.

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

Answer: Yes. If a company like Microsoft wanted to sponsor a wing of a school certainly I would take a look. There must be good checks and balances for potential conflicts.

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

Answer: No. However, I do believe children should develop hand writing skills.

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

Answer: Yes. In some areas there are too many and some areas there are not many. I have spoken to parents and some like the flexibility of the portables.

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

Answer: Don’t Know. There are many concerned parents who had to adjust to new buses and alternate ways to get to school. In some cases I have heard of neighbours having bus service and the other neighbour losing it.

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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: No I personally don’t think so. However it could be case by case. Teachers need the support. I have heard from teachers that SEAs are in short supply and it is putting pressure on the teachers.

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

Answer: Don’t Know. I would have to make sure there is enough resources and infrastructure without taking resources from existing students.

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

Answer: No. But I do live here.

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

Answer: Yes. I think politicians can become too comfortable.

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

Answer: Don’t Know. It would be a case by case decisions – all the proper due diligence is done.

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