Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 11, 2004
Edmonton Catholic School Board trustee candidates
Rudy Arcilla - - Ward Four
My name is Rudy Arcilla and I am an active and practising Catholic. I am also a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus, St. Michael Assembly.
"Education is wealth: Let's invest in it daily." I chose this catch phrase to describe my effort to be elected as one of your school board trustees because I profoundly believe the correctness and timeliness of it.
Education is wealth . . . and there is wealth in education. But we need to deliver education the best way we can in order for our children to reap this wealth. It is evident that our Catholic system is doing this already.
We, however, cannot rest on our successes. Because we are Catholics we also need to increase our focus on the spiritual life of our children - the very existence of our Catholic schools depends on this.
Our faith is the foundation of our Catholic schools. This is the one wealth that we need not and cannot forget.
If elected, I will suggest a committee composed of parents, teachers, lay religious of the community, and students to find ways and means of enticing more school children to attend church Masses on Sundays.
My second proposal is for adding or for designating an existing space in our Catholic schools as chapels, small but functional chapels where the Eucharist is present.
Last, let's teach our children how to pray the rosary - another investment that is very easy to do.
Marilyn Cavaliere - - Ward Four
It has been my honour to serve as your trustee for the last three years. I am committed to continue to work for our children and for Catholic education.
Over the last three years, Edmonton Catholic students have shown improvement on Provincial Achievement Tests and diploma exams year over year. In spite of the tremendous challenges we face with funding, the district's budget has been balanced each year.
Many positive steps have been taken to balance the needs of children and families while addressing the district utilization rate (and thereby, funding for plant operations and maintenance, school modernization, and new school construction). Several successful strategies have been initiated to increase enrollment in the district, leading to a substantial increase in this year's preliminary student count.
Still, there is much to do. I will continue to invest my time to ensure that each child has the best opportunity for success at school, to create and sustain working environments that promote staff satisfaction, and to encourage parental involvement in their student's learning. We must ensure that we have adequate funding to provide quality education, from sustaining reduced class sizes to maintaining school buildings.
I am committed to the growth of Genesis Alive!, the board's initiative to involve parents and school councils in strengthening Catholic education, and improving Edmonton Catholic Schools.
It is important to me to develop and nurture positive, trusting relationships. Such relationships make me more effective in advocating for my constituents, lobbying other levels of government, and preserving Catholic education.
Joe Filewych - - Ward Four
Joe Filewych, retired school principal and teacher, is running for Edmonton Catholic Schools trustee in Ward 4.
Mr. Filewych supports immediate action for a number of issues. His first issue is the restoration of district dollars to the classrooms. According to statistics from the Three Year Education Plan 2004-07, the previous board has taken 2.4 per cent of the district budget away from the classrooms (2001 - 71 per cent, 2004 - 68.6 per cent). This is millions of dollars transferred out of school budgets.
They have increased board governance and administration by 340 per cent, an increase of $6 million. In 2004, the board of trustees also approved a five per cent increase in their own salaries and benefits.
As a result, the following has occurred: Class sizes have increased. Some special needs students and high needs classrooms have operated without teacher assistants. Work hours for school support staff have been reduced, resulting in unrealistic workloads.
The board must immediately redirect money back to where it is most needed - the classroom.
Other issues include district enrollment and fees. Since 1998, district enrollment is down, and since 2001, school fees have doubled.
The following responses taken from the 2004 staff satisfaction survey need to be addressed:
"I am treated with dignity and respect in the ECS community" - only 58 per cent agree.
"Superintendent of schools provides effective leadership for the district" - 44 per cent agree.
"The board of trustees provides effective leadership for the district" - only 27.5 per cent agree.
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