Advocating for change.
That is what Lisa Anne Chatten, Alison Kelly, Matti Kopamees, Kristen Parks and Michael Rush have in common and all of them are seeking a seat as a Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board trustee.
At a panel discussion on Thursday night in Picton at Carbon Art and Design, the five discussed if trustees can make real change and if trustees can be ‘progressive’.
Four of the seats at the trustee table are acclaimed which means five are up for grabs and this group hopes they can bring fresh ideas forward as well as being more transparent to the parents and students they would represent.
Kelly and Kopamees are running in Prince Edward County, Parks is seeking the Quinte West seat and Chatten and Rush are hoping to represent Belleville.
Kopamees told the small group that attended the meeting he wants to be the voice of the constituents as he finds the current trustee inaccessible.
Kelly said decisions made at the provincial level sparked her interest in seeking the trustee position and she wants to see the board work more with parents, agencies and staff to make decisions.
Parks says there has been a lack of communication and wants to bring a fresh voice to the table.
Chatten wants to see the interests of the public represented as there is something fundamentally wrong when there is a system in place that won’t listen to people.
Rush says he feels current trustees aren’t engaged and he wants to make a change.
All five were concerned that the right questions aren’t being asked and no one is even playing the role of devil’s advocate.
Rush said there are basics the board can get back to in order to restore trust in them from the public and employees.
Chatten said the board has wants whereas the students have needs.
Kopamees knows it will be a long process to make change but he’s ready to start the fight.
Rush felt transparency is one of the first things they can do to help open up the board as it takes no effort.
Kate McNaughton hosted the Project Prince Edward event as a way to help educate people about who is running for the trustee position in this year’s municipal election.
Project Prince Edward has two goals; to help people learn about the municipal elections and help foster diversity on local council.
McNaughton is seeking election as a councillor in Picton.