Returnee up for challenges

With one term as a trustee with the Vernon School District, Mollie Bono is ready for another three years...

With one term as a trustee with the Vernon School District, Mollie Bono is ready for another three years, and hopes to be given that chance on Nov 19.

“I am seeking another term because I believe there is so much that needs to be addressed in regard to the development of partnerships with teachers and other staff,” she said. “The last three years have been very exciting with lots of learning and new understandings in terms of how this district really works.”

Bono, 62, said trustees face a constant challenge as they deal with the requirement to balance the district budget in spite of cuts from provincial funds, accompanied by the cutting of programs already stretched to their limit.

“My motivation comes from my years of working within this system and with the knowledge that there are better ways of doing things — if we can listen to one another.

“My optimism is the result of seeing change during the time I worked with First Nations students — we have come a long way!”

As a councillor with the Okanagan Indian Band, with a focus on cultural education, policing and health, Bono has a particular interest in ensuring better communication between the district and First Nations people. She calls it an ongoing challenge and a large part of her desire to continue as a trustee has to do with this issue.

“Communication is critical to change and empowerment. Many of our First Nation families feel disempowered and excluded,” said Bono, who has one adult child and four grandchildren.

“This has not improved during the last three years, and the key to improving this relationship is to be less defensive, less protective of privilege and past decisions and more open to learn from a group of people that are marginalized but have a lot of knowledge to share.”