Prince George Matters is a new news source in Prince George.
They published this story with a questionnaire for those running for local office. I took the time to answer the questions. Here are the questions and my answers.
Name: Tim Bennett
Number of years lived in Prince George: 28
Current neighbourhood: West Bowl
Occupation: Executive Director with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Prince George and SD 57 Trustee
Reason community would recognize your name: There are a few reasons why people might recognize my name. I have been a Trustee since 2011 and have been Board Chair since 2016. Have been with Big Brothers Big Sisters for almost 12 years. I was named the 2017 PG Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year, spent 6 years as the President of Volunteer Prince George and growing up I organized a Christmas Seniors Dinner for seniors living in Prince George.
What is the most important issue facing the school district, and how do you propose to deal with it?
One of the biggest issues facing our district right now is catchment and capacity. Our district is growing and we are quickly running out of space. This will need to be addressed by continuing the consultation started by the Board and looking at options whether it is changing catchment areas, trying to add space through the addition of portables and/or finding creative solutions that would not impact the education needs of our students. The first round of consultation is complete and learned a lot about what the community is looking for. We need to take some of that feedback and look at some different options as well. Before the future decisions are made the board needs to continue consulting with stakeholders and committee and make sure the process remains transparent.
What is your specific reason for running?
Fist and foremost I am passionate about Public Education and believe I still have work to do. I am seeking re-election for a third term on school board because there are some big challenges and opportunities on the horizon for both SD57 and Public Education in BC. I am confident I have the skills, leadership, and experience to support the district and board and advocate for our students and staff. These challenges include addressing capacity issues in Prince George schools, advocating for our district and students as the government introduces changes to the education funding formula, supporting our staff through the final implementation of the new curriculum and as the employer ensure a fair and respectful bargaining process with our teachers and support staff. These are all going to faced by the new board in the next 12 – 18 months.
Where can the school board spend less?
At this time, I don’t believe we are in a position where things could be cut. We have made many difficult decisions over the past few years and have cut in so many places. Our board has made tough decisions over the years to ensure balanced budgets. The budget we approved for the 2018-2019 school year is not only budgeted but we were able to add about $800,000 of additional staffing and resources to benefit students and staff in the classroom and build capacity in the Board office.
Where should the school board be investing more?
I believe in the next couple budgets (assuming changes to the funding formula do not negatively impact our district) need to invest a bit of our accumulated surplus to further build staff capacity and provide additional resources for students. Priorities that I have set in my platform include increased staffing and resources to support our venturing and vulnerable students. I would also like to see resources allocated to meet the recommendations made by the Ad-Hoc Committee on Technology and District Technology committee. This will help improve our technological infrastructure and better meet the needs of our staff.
Next time you’re walking in the woods and you come face-to-face with a Sasquatch, what do you do?
Honestly probably try to Instagram it. It would make one great Instagram story!
If the next school board does something film-worthy, who would play you in the film?
Hmm.. Think Dwayne Johnson is available? He could make a great school trustee and has the abs I don’t.
Complete the sentence:
When I’m not at home or at work, you can find me:
Walking my dog Bentley at either Moores Meadow or Ginters. Also drink way too much coffee so I could be grabbing coffee at one of Prince George’s awesome coffee shops. Oh, I also try to squeeze in some volleyball at the YMCA.
The most random, yet interesting fact about me is:
I can play the trombone.
My favourite beverage is:
Unsweetened Iced Americano with Milk or the Coffee Lemonade from Playgounds Cafe.
For Christmas/Hanukkah/the gift-giving season, I would like:
New socks. Love fun and bold socks.
The best park in/near to Prince George is:
We have a lot of great ones. Huble Homestead is always a great escape from PG.
If Prince George didn’t exist, I’d be living in:
My wife Carli loves the ocean so perhaps on the Island or Coast. It would also be great to wake up with a great view of the mountains every morning.
When I need some pump-up music, I listen to:
Have two spotify playlists I turn to. One is a mix of upbeat country from the last decade. The second is my “throwback” and those are all great nostalgia songs that just make me feel happy.