Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some good news

At 4 pm today, nominations for election to the Regina Public School Board closed.

I was the only candidate to come forward in this Subdivision.

Therefore, it appears I will be the new trustee for Subdivision 5.

Thank you to all of those who helped out with the campaign in any way. I really appreciate all of your hard work and good wishes.

I will continue to work hard to listen to as many voices as I can in the Subdivision and be responsive to the community.

As always, I would love to hear your ideas, concerns or comments.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Thank-you to all who came out on Sunday to drop leaflets and share some pizza and time with us. It was a cold day made all the warmer by good company.

We have distributed most of our leaflets. I officially filed by nomination papers with City yesterday. I am still the only declared candidate for Subdivision 5. Nominations close tomorrow at 4 pm.

I am looking for groups in the Subdivision to talk with to gain insight into what people are focused on. I am always looking for ideas that might be used to improve our schools. I am also interested in input about what people feel is being done well in our system.

Groups need not be large or formal. Let me know if you have ideas, bouquets or concerns you would like raised.

Take care all,


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Why I am running for School Board

Below is a letter that I wrote to a trustee on the Regina Board of Education prior to a vote on the current 10-year plan.

I have added it to my blog because I think that it illustrates why I am running for School Board, and why I want to fight to protect and promote schools rooted in neighbourhoods.

Dear (Trustee),

> I am writing to you as a parent of three children, two of whom attend
> Ecole Connaught Community School in the Cathedral Area.
> Our children currently walk to and from school. Besides allowing them
> to gain exercise and fresh air and not emitting and carbon, these
> walks allow my children something even more valuable. Walking to
> their small neighbourhood school allows my children, as is does other
> children in the area, to be a vital part of their community.
> Our children know their neighbours. Not just on our street, but all
> the way to school. They know the names of the pets of many of our
> neighbours. They know business owners and librarians at the local
> library. They often pick up rubbish and we, on many occasions, have
> stopped to offer help to people along the way. People along the way look out for our kids.

Our children have pride in the community where they live. They are safer because they know the people around them. The neighbourhood is safer because people are out
> walking, noticing what is going on around them.
> I know all of the children in both my children's classes. I know most
> of their parents. I know all of the teachers and staff at the
> school. I volunteer a the school frequentlyand I am by no means
> unique. We have a great level of participation at our school and in
> our community. The school and the building that it occupies is a vital
> part of our community, not just for the parents and students but for
> the community as a whole. Our community "works".
> Under the 10-year plan, my children would be bused to Massey half-way
> across the city. What I have described above would be lost. It would
> be a loss to us personally to be sure. It would be a loss to the
> students and the community as well. But further, it would be a loss
> to Regina.
> All three levels of government are currently realizing that in order
> to meet challenges presented by fuel costs, health measures and the
> reality of global warming, we need to move toward "compact,
> sustainable" Cities. The Board's current plan runs counter to this goal.
> The plan targets, however inadvertently, inner city schools and
> schools with relatively high aboriginal populations.
> Regina and Saskatchewan as a whole are in a era of population and
> economic growth unparalleled in recent memory. In light of this, the
> provincial government has called upon board's to consider halting
> school closures until the Education Act can be amended.
> The projected enrolment numbers contained in the 10-year plan have
> been rendered do inaccurate as to be deemed not credible by many.
> Connaught's projected enrolment for the 2007-2008 year alone
> underestimates the student population by nearly 100 students. Census
> date recently released shows that the Cathedral area is projected to
> have increasing more school-age students over the next 10 years. No
> population is growing faster than First Nations families with children
> under five, yet this plan would see many of the schools with the
> highest proportion of First nations children closed.
> I recognize that you have difficult decisions ahead of you. Much time
> and money has been put into the Board's current plan. Sometimes
> leadership means admitting when you have started down the wrong course
> and finding the courage to set things right.
> Please reconsider.

Our communities need children, not buses.
> Sincerely,
> Carla Beck

Thursday, September 17.

Greetings all!

The leaflets are ready to go tomorrow. I will be heading out on Thursday at 6:30pm for 2 hours to knock on doors, talk with neighbours and hand out leaflets.

Please, if you are able, consider coming out. Any contribution is welcome.

Email me to let me know if you are able to come Thursday, or at a later date.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

New Developments Regarding the 10-year Plan

On September 1, the Regina Board of Education met. Items discussed at that meeting included the Budget for the upcoming year and a review of the 10-Year plan.

When the plan was unveiled in November 2007, parents and community members almost immediately started raising concerns about the enrollment projections and the cost estimates associated with the plan. These concerns were largely dismissed.

Well, guess what? It turns out, two years into the plan, that the cost over-runs now sit at over $900,000 and there are more children enrolled in many schools that the 10-year plan had projected. Turns out, mother (and father, and neighbour) really does know best.

This development coupled with the province's surprise decision this spring to take away the ability of School Board's to set their own mill rate puts the 10-year plan in question.

Read more at: (PDF versions of 10-year plan review and budget presentation)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Below is a copy of my campaign letter. If you are able to help out in any way, that would be great. Even if you could help to spread the word to others in Subdivision 5, that would be helpful.

August 23, 2009

Dear Friends, Neighbours and Supporters,

As you may be aware, I have announced that I will seek election to the Regina Public School Board in Subdivision 5. This Subdivision has been well represented for the last 16 years by Dr. John Conway. However, John announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking re-election. The shoes to fill are large and the challenges facing trustees are great. I have decided, after careful consideration, to commit to this challenge.

When the Regina Board of Education’s 10-year “renewal” plan was released in 2007, a group of concerned parents and citizens formed the grassroots group, RealRenewal. As a parent of two children who attend Ecole Connaught Community School, I became an active member and spokesperson for RealRenewal.

The current Board, with the exception of Dr. Conway, appear fully committed to forging ahead with the 10-year plan, despite articulate and reasoned concerns raised by RealRenewal and other citizens. Three schools have already been closed, and Herchmer has been demolished. One French Immersion program has been taken out of the core of the city and the only other French program in the core (Ecole Connaught) is scheduled to be discontinued. Ten more elementary schools are set to close before 2018, as is Martin Collegiate. Unless the plan is changed, Subdivision 5 will see up to four more elementary schools affected by closure – Connaught or Davin, Coronation Park and Kitchner. The plan also places the future of heritage school buildings in jeopardy.

The first round of school closures this spring highlighted the need for more transparency, accountability and meaningful community consultation. Exercises in public relations masquerading as public consultations serve only to alienate those who seek to be involved in the process. I support full public disclosure of all documents and reports used in making closure decisions, well in advance of any decision.

I support adequate staffing of existing schools and would seek to increase community involvement in schools. I believe that the innovation and adaptability we seek in responding to the needs of students is best realized when staff, students, and communities are involved and engaged in their schools. I would seek to enhance the concept of schools as the centre of communities and support the inclusion of community partners, such as daycares and health services, inside schools.

This spring, the provincial government announced that it would be taking away the ability of local, democratically elected school boards to set their own mill-rates. This is perhaps the greatest challenge facing trustees who seek to make progressive changes to the system. Being a trustee in this new era will require strong voices willing to publicly lobby the province to increase funding to education. I am willing to take on this challenge and believe that progressive legislation elsewhere can serve as an example for the provincial government. For example, Ontario recently announced an ambitious program aimed at restoring and retrofitting schools, while significantly reducing class sizes. Similar legislation in Saskatchewan could address the serious maintenance deficits that have been allowed to grow with years of underfunding of our education system, and position the system to meet the challenges of the future.

Action on reducing class-sizes is also long overdue. We know that children learn best in small schools and in small classrooms. This was made clear in the Board’s own report commissioned by Dr. Leithwood from the University of Toronto, prior to the 10-year plan. This should be a top priority.

I believe our children and communities are best served by small, walkable, neighbourhood schools. This is what I sought to draw attention to when I helped organized the successful “Walk to School Wednesday” event this spring. If the current plan proceeds, almost 46 percent of elementary students will be bused to school every school day. Given what we know about fossil fuels and childhood inactivity and obesity, this plan does not serve the best interests of our children or our environment.

I would publicly and forcefully oppose any and all attempts to privatize or commercialize our public schools. I am opposed to the introduction of costly and unaccountable public-private partnerships (P3s). I am also concerned about the creeping commercialization we already see in our schools. Sponsorship arrangements, advertising, fundraising, and fees charged to families have become all too common, and in my opinion, have no place in a public education system. But in order to halt and reverse this trend, schools must be adequately funded.

I believe that my background as a parent, social worker, and activist will serve me well as I take on the challenges outlined above. But I need your support. You can help in a number of ways:

· Make a financial contribution (donations of $25 or more must be disclosed)
· Display a lawn or window sign
· Deliver election information door to door
· Pass on names and contact information of other potential supporters
· Ask me to speak with your group or organization

Thank you for your support. Please feel free to contact me with ideas, questions or concerns.


Carla Beck
Visit my election blog at
Or the facebook group: Carla Beck for School Board (Subdivision 5)

If you would like to make a contribution, let me know.

Monday, August 17, 2009

contact information

If you do happen to have comments, concerns, questions, or suggestions but do not want to post them publicly, please email me at

This also works if you would like to volunteer to help out with the campaign. We neeed people to drop campaign information door-door, take lawn signs, and of course, make campaign contributions.

I hope to hear from you.