Now running for her third consecutive term as School Trustee, Trina Ayling is very proud of the achievements of the School District No. 5 Board over the past three years.
“The most obvious achievement that everyone would recognize is that, from Elkford to Cranbrook, we have had no school closures,” explained Ayling. “It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve approached all our decisions calmly and logically, and in close consultation with parents, teachers and all members of our school community. It’s paid off with greater stability and consistency for our students.”
While inadequate provincial government funding is a constant refrain from school boards across BC, Ayling highlights the fact that the present SD5 Board has managed public funds responsibly, with every budget balanced –even in the face of ongoing fiscal challenges.
“We have to operate our school system within funding constraints. That’s the reality. But we do have some flexibility in how we allocate those limited funds, and we have worked very hard to find ways to trim expenses to minimize the impact on our students,” explained Ayling. “Each year we also provide government with a reasonable ‘needs budget’ so they can see, down to the penny, the gap between what we receive versus what we need in order to deliver the education students and parents deserve.”
With the recent hiring of a new Superintendent for the District, followed by a number of other promotions within administration and teaching staff, Ayling believes SD5 is well positioned to provide a consistent and quality educational experience for students for many years to come. However, she believes there is one major piece of unfinished business in Cranbrook.
“We need a replacement for Mount Baker High School,” said Ayling. “We’ve done more public consultations on developing this school than any other Board in the province. It’s old, it’s crowded, and it costs too much in operational expenses to run. It’s time to make the investment in our students and in our local economy, and I hope to continue to work with my fellow trustees and MLA to make that happen.”
When she’s not attending Board meetings, parent advisory and various community meetings, or helping raise her two sons with her husband Chris, Ayling finds time to write children’s stories, and over the past few years has done a number of readings at libraries across the Kootenays.
“Literacy is a big focus for me, not only because it is essential to succeed in life but also because it opens a child’s mind to other experiences and places,” explained Ayling. “I like to write about being true to yourself and your own potential, and it’s a belief that I carry through in my role as trustee. I am very thankful to the citizens of Cranbrook for their past support, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue working hard to help all our students secure a bright future.”