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Voice of New Wesminster: Interview with Maylen Crespo

By  | 31 October 2008 at 00:51 | 1029 views

On Saturday November 15th, the city of New Westminster in Western Canada, (which has a large immigrant population) will elect its Board of Trustees. Afri-Can magazine recently talked to Maylen Crespo, one of the contestants. Excerpts:

Afri-Can Magazine: What is Voice New Westminster?

Maylen Crespo: Founded in 2007, Voice New Westminster is a broad-based, non-partisan organization comprised of local residents who care about the City of New Westminster and have worked in and or volunteered for various community endeavours. VOICE New Westminster recruited and is supporting a full slate of candidates for Mayor, Council and School Board in the next civic elections on November 15, 2008.
We are not a political party; we invite anyone who cares about this community to join us.

AM: Why did the candidates join this group to run for the school board?

MC: Candidates for Voice New Westminster joined this organization because of a shared vision in the common interest of Public Education; they are together with the purpose of supporting each other, to present a different vision and better representation to the Board. Coming along this group represents a mix of experience, community grass roots, dedication and knowledge.

AM: Why did the candidates want to contest for the positions of School trustees?

MC: Voice New Westminster candidates believe New Westminster deserves a positive change in leadership style. Voice governance will be responsible, accountable and transparent.

AM: Who are your opponents?

MC: Voice New Westminster candidates are identified on the ballot with this affiliation. There are 16 candidates on the School Trustee ballot; seven of them have Voice New Westminster beside their name.

AM: What is the work of the Education Board of Trustees?

MC: Locally chosen boards of education are elected to ensure community representation in the management and oversight of our schools
Boards of education:

- establish policies

- set budgets for the school district

- formulate plans for the school district and set priorities that reflect community values and goals

- monitor student progress

- make decisions regarding student/parent appeals

- communicate with the government on education issues

- employ staff for school district operations

- approve course and resource materials and serve as a liaisons to various other community groups and organizations.

Trustees also attend board and committee meetings and serve as liaisons to various other community groups and organizations whose meetings they attend and report back on to the rest of the board; they may be also named as liaisons to schools in their school district and attend Parent Advisory Council meetings at their liaison schools.

AM: How are they elected?

The elections of all trustees, council and mayor, known collectively as a civic election, is held every three years.

AM: When is the next election?

The next election is November 15th, 2008.

AM: What do you hope to achieve if elected?
The seven initiatives of Voice Trustee Team are:

1. A Sunshine Agenda initiative comprised to re-engage the community and bring Board and District business back into the public domain.

2. 100% Parent Advisory Council (PAC) Pact - a commitment to PACs and committees to establish meaningful and respectful two-way dialogue which is consistent.

3. 100 day commitments to complete comprehensive reports on: Physical Plant; The Business Co.; Financial Structure; Organizational structure; Programs of Choice.

4. Development of a strategic three year plan.

5. Establish a sustainable strategy for Childcare facilities’ (particularly in relation to Early Learning Initiatives).

6. To promote a Community of Best Practices in Education.

7. To establish a long term and sustainable future for the Massey Theatre

The number one priorities of Voice Trustees are completion of the High School, West End Middle School and renovation/re-construction of aging community schools.

Photo: Voice of New Westminster contestants; Maylen is second from right (front row).

Source: Afri-Can magazine(