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Chris Johns running for another trustee term with SD5 board of education

Chris Johns is running for re-election as trustee for the Southeast Kootenay (SD5) district board of education.
Chris Johns is running for another term as school trustee for the School District 5 board of education. Photo courtesy Chris Johns.

Chris Johns is running for re-election as trustee for the Southeast Kootenay (SD5) district board of education.

Johns is a retired teacher with over three decades in the public school system around the province, 28 years of which were spent in Cranbrook primarily in upper elementary with Steeples and Amy Woodland.

Johns also served two stints as president of the Cranbrook and District Teachers’ Association, including an 11-year run before retiring in 2008. He was also involved with the University of Victoria/College of the Rockies’ Teachers’ Education Program for six years, working with entry level students on their journey to becoming professional educators.

But retirement didn’t end his interest in public education.

“You can’t just turn it off. Teaching and public education has been the passion of my working life,” said Johns.

Johns leaned on his experience in classrooms and with the public education system when deciding to run for anther trustee term on the SD5 board.

“In my extensive experience I’ve witnessed first hand the importance of the advocacy and engagement by parents and stakeholders for decision-making that is based on the best interests of students that reflects their individual educational needs,” said Johns. “A School Trustee is elected to advocate for the needs of the community in a transparent manner ensuring that the principles of public education remain in the public trust.”

In spite of challenges with “chronic underfunding” of public education, Johns said SD5 trustees have been able to balance the budget every year, as per provincial law.

“It gets harder and harder every year to keep us out of the red,” said Johns. “Provincial funding never keeps up with the inevitable increases in what it costs to run our vehicles, heat and maintain our buildings, and so on. But we are determined to keep the cuts needed to balance the books as far away from the classrooms as possible. And each year we provide government with an objective assessment of the shortfalls.”

Over the last term, Johns said he was proud progress made on replacing Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook, and incorporating a new Key City Theatre within that design, as well as balancing district budgets every year and ensuring no schools were closed.

Looking ahead over the next four years, Johns said there is lots of work to be done, particularly on the continuing efforts to replace Mount Baker Secondary School, while also addressing funding shortfalls and engaging parents and education stakeholders.

“There will continue to be many challenges facing the School District over the next four years,” said Johns, “and I am absolutely confident that we can meet these challenges in a collaborative, transparent and respectful manner using the combined resources of parents, school district staff and the community at large. Nobody has all the answers, so I have an obligation, a public trust, to make decisions in a transparent manner while upholding the principles of public education.”

Johns is a longtime Cranbrook resident along with his wife, Carol, who is also a teacher and early childhood advocate while two adult children went through the local public system, graduating out of Mount Baker Secondary School.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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