Dale Saip is one of the Delta school trustee candidates running in this month's civic election. Here are his responses to a questionnaire from the Optimist:
1. Bio – Tell readers a bit about yourself and why you are running for office.
Since first being elected in 1987 I've fought hard to bring fiscal accountability into balance with expectations for our students’ success. My history as a Trustee and Chair of the School Board, my experience as the Senior VP of the Vancouver Giants, Chair of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Director of the Gitxsan Development Corporation, as well as numerous other Boards and charities gives me real life expertise in helping to govern our District.
2. Most pressing issue – What issue are you most passionate about and what action will you take on it?
I believe that School Boards across this Province have become embroiled in confrontational fights over funding rather than setting a strong fiscal policy that recognizes that School Boards are not meant to be a lobby or activist organization, but are legally mandated to live within their means, which we have been able to do in Delta, while at the same time delivering programs to students.
3. - The Delta school board has been able to bring additional per-pupil funding and revenues by attracting out-of-district students to Delta’s specialty academies. Should these programs be made free for Delta residents without having to apply for special exemptions?
The Academy programs we have created allow us to keep enrollment at a levels that prevent school closures due to declining enrollment, and are intended to be revenue neutral. There are costs involved and those expenses need to be covered so providing special privilege based on residency would put a strain on other programs (special needs etc.) and defeat the purpose of what has been created. I am pleased with the Academy scholarship offerings by our District that provided so students are no denied entry on inability to pay.
4. - The district has seen steady increases in the number of students from other countries in the International Student Program. By 2016/17 revenue climbed to just over $10 million. Part of that money has now gone into offsetting budget deficits. Do you support using those revenues for the operating budget and, if not, where should those monies be targeted?
Our International Student program has allowed us to continue to provide a high level of educational offerings in Delta without having to compromise our neighborhoods by closing schools. I very much support this initiative.
5. - The school board is proposing to work out a land deal with the City of Delta to build a new track facility in North Delta. Many other schools in the district will still be without upgraded tracks. Do you feel corporate sponsorship may be a possibility or are there other options you believe can be explored?
It is my opinion that as the conduit and recipient of the Lower Mainland's garbage, sewage, train traffic, ferry traffic, and container shipments, that Delta should have the very best in recreational facilities to benefit our youth and general populace. Unfortunately we are near the bottom of the pile when it comes to fields and recreational opportunities
Delta is in need of a comprehensive Parks and Rec strategy that encompasses ALL public lands whether school or city property. Since first being elected in 1987 I have been a advocate for joint use agreements and development of public facilities and have had success at some levels and frustration at others. If re-elected I will continue to advocate for true value for taxpayer dollars in this regard.
6. - As a candidate for trustee, please explain the role of trustee and explain why you among all of these other candidates should be elected to it.
First and foremost a Trustee is an advocate for the taxpayer. Some of whom have children in our schools, but most do not and thus a disconnect with the system. Our elected responsibility is to find and hire the best possible people to run and administer our District within the means provided, and let these qualified folks do their job.