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Politics not part of school board, says re-elected Delta trustee

Achieving for Delta took six of seven school trustee positions in the municipal election
Nick Kanakos says school boards are not political and such allegiances are usually dropped when it comes to making the best budget decisions for students.

The Delta School Board is also going to have a different look with four newcomers getting elected in last weekend’s municipal election.

New to the board are Ammen Dhillon, Masako Gooch, Nimmi Daula and Joe Muego, joining re-elected trustees Val Windsor, Nick Kanakos and Erica Beard.

The Achieving for Delta slate got a clean sweep on Delta council and almost did the same in the race for school board, taking six of seven seats.

Kanakos is the lone elected Delta trustee not on the Achieving for Delta ticket, having run with incumbent Bruce Reid who wasn’t re-elected.

Saying political organizations had not run for Delta School Board positions until the 2018 election, Kanakos noted BC Elections rules when it comes to who can donate and how much an individual candidate can spend will make it even tougher for independents who on their own and not part of big organizations.

“It makes it far more difficult for the average independent candidate to even make a dent and I think this election was reflective of that. Unless you have a lot of pretty big backing behind you, you can’t really run an effective campaign, whereas a larger campaign can afford to run the ads and have more door-to-door canvassing, mail-outs, flyers and those kind of things. You’re just caught in the constraints of the financing,” said Kanakos.

When it comes to the business of the school board, however, it won’t matter if one political organization has the most seats because the only focus is student learning, he said.

“Most of your decisions are based on what information senior staff has provided you. The decisions are pretty clear-cut and the decisions are based on what is the funding before us and what programs can we offer,” he said.

Kanakos noted it looks the new board has a good mix of people.

“It’s going to be a great four years. It’s a great group of people who were elected. They all bring their own values to education. What I brought was my experience and they’ll bring experience in other areas. That’s how a board works. You have a whole team together for the best interests of the kids,” he added.

Windsor, who was previously an independent before joining Achieving for Delta this election, agreed that it’s not about politics but making the best decisions for students and improving outcomes in the classroom.

She said that she’s thrilled to have such a diverse mix comprising the new board.

“This team looks like Delta now. We have diversity of gender and culture and ethnicity and people with some pretty incredible backgrounds. I feel they will serve the school board, and certainly the students in Delta, very well,” she said.

Windsor added both council members and school trustees are working for the same purpose, and that having an even better relationship with the city should benefit the school district.