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Hello, my name is James Rowley and I would like to serve as School Trustee for SD42. I am asking for your vote because all is not right in our schools and I believe I can help with one word:

advocacy.

We have a school board in SD42 that is really excellent. They have worked hard to build a solid plan to make sure all of our diverse future citizens have the best chance to excel in their lives. They have consulted and continue to consult with all the stakeholders in the district to weave education into the fabric of Maple Ridge. This is a team I’d like to join. This is work I’d like to continue.

However, if everything were fine, I wouldn’t be running. I can see that although my kids are in a progressive, forward-thinking school district there is a risk of all that promise being broken by a simple lack of funding. No matter how good your plans are, the quality of education can do nothing but suffer if you have to cut $5 million year after year.

Our school trustees have stewarded a 90% graduation rate. I was talking with Mike Murray the other day and he pointed out that those grads started school long before the relentless cuts that we have seen for several years occurred. My kids are learning to love school and I hope that love will last them right through to graduation. However, increasing class sizes, cutting staff, cutting resources, even raising rental fees for outside groups which has a chilling effect on a variety of programs like sports, arts, Guides and Scouts must all result in reduced engagement in learning. We will see a lower grad rate.

If I am given the honour to serve on the Board of Education for School District 42, I am going to represent nothing less than the future of Maple Ridge and the future of British Columbia which I see shining in the faces of my children every day. I think it is we parents that have to speak up now—not just because we are fighting for our children’s future, but because we are reminded every day of what we all know to be true: our children are our future.

Lanjim house

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