Skip to content

Valks wins Kootenay Columbia trustee seat by large margin

Area 2 has two seats on the board; Catherine Zaitsoff fills the second trustee position

Preliminary results for the Saturday byelection to fill one vacant seat in Electoral Area 2 of Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 show Birkley Valks well in the lead with 807 votes.

Behind Valks is Emily Duggan with 307 votes, Jennifer Burton with 139 votes, and Lindsay Kenny with 31 votes.

Only residents of that area were eligible to vote in the byelection.

As the newly-elected trustee, Valks will represent the City of Castlegar and part of Regional District of Central Kootenay Area J including Deer Park, Paulson Highway, Raspberry, Renata and Robson.

“Watching my kids, nieces, and every child in our community from Strong Start to high school made me realize how important it is to have a responsible, functional school system,” Valks told the Castlegar News in a pre-election interview. “Every kid deserves a fair, healthy, well rounded education.”

An emerging problem since the pandemic, we have seen students’ mental health struggle more than ever, and kids with special needs needing more support, Valks said.

“The district only receives a finite amount of money from the province, not usually enough to meet these increasing needs.

“Some things I can do is to encourage the public to engage in strategic planning to help make this a greater priority within the district, lobby the provincial government to increase funding for more students who need more support, and take every opportunity to keep the focus on this issue in the district.”

Regarding budget priorities, further to the News’ interview, Valks said, “The whole board works in collaboration with the district staff, district stakeholders (teachers’ union, staff union, principals, DPAC) and public feedback, using the strategic plan as a guide.

“As a trustee I would strive to work together with all of these interest groups to make sure spending is done responsibly and as equitably as possible for all of the groups. It is important for the public to know that trustees do not have individual power to implement specific things. I urge everyone voting this month to read the strategic plan on the SD20 website.”

The declaration of official election results will be announced Wednesday, April 24 at 4 p.m.

Area 2 has two seats on the board; Catherine Zaitsoff fills the second trustee position.

Role of Board of Education

Section 30 (1) of the School Act states: There is to be a board of school trustees for each school district. Under Section 113 (1)(a) and 9109B0, each year the Board must adopt a final budget for that fiscal year and a preliminary for the next fiscal year.

School Trustees act as a corporate board to establish policies which govern a school district. In School District No. 20 the Board is comprised of nine elected citizens. Trustee elections are held every four years in conjunction with municipal elections.

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

Read more