As a former member of parliament, Jim Hart has many years of political experience to bring to the table as a school trustee.
One of seven candidates to represent Vernon and Areas B and C, Hart served as MP in Okanagan-Coquihalla for two terms, and has previous experience as a trustee, serving from 1988 to 1993 in Okanagan Skaha.
“I believe that our most valuable resource is our children. The very best public education system is required in order to ensure that our children are equipped for the challenges they will face in a global economy,” he said. “The school system needs to meet the needs of students that will go on to university, but also those that chose technical careers through apprentice programs.”
Hart has two grown sons, a daughter in Grade 6 and two school-aged grandchildren. His sons attended school in the South Okanagan, which is what originally attracted Hart to school politics.
“Lots of people have asked why school board and it is somewhat frustrating to me because it is so critically important for schools to be reaching for excellence not mediocrity.”
Hart also feels strongly that families should have assurances that their children are safe at school.
“Too often we hear of bullying, gangs and drugs in schools. We need to continue to develop education programs that address these challenges. I advocate strong punishment for those that use our schools as dispensaries for illicit drugs and working with community agencies to challenge children to make good choices needs to be encouraged.”
With the current teachers’ job action under way, Hart said it’s essential to return bargaining to local boards as he doesn’t believe that provincial bargaining builds positive relations between local unions and doesn’t always meet the needs of Vernon students.
“School boards’ ability to bargain with employee groups erodes good working relationships with these employees and is counter-intuitive when discussing good governance.
“If all decisions are made provincially there will eventually be no need for school boards, which would take the public’s ability to have representation for the tax dollars expended on education.”