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Need for new schools tops New Westminster election agenda

School capacity, safety and mental health are top of mind for the nine people vying for your votes for New West school board.
Top, from left: Marc Andres, Dee Beattie, Kathleen Carlsen, Danielle Connelly, Gurveen Dhaliwal; (bottom, from left) Teo Dobre, Maya Russell, Elliott Slinn and Cheryl Sluis are the nine candidates vying for seven spots on the School District 40 board in the Oct. 15 local election.

The need for more school space in New Westminster is top of mind for the nine candidates vying for seats on school board.

New Westminster voters will head to the polls Oct. 15 to choose a new mayor, city council and school board. 

Nine hopefuls are vying for the seven available seats on school board, and the Record invited those candidates to fill out a questionnaire about themselves and the issues facing the New Westminster school district.

The questionnaires show a clear consensus when it comes to the biggest issue facing the new school trustees: the lack of space in School District 40 schools, and the urgent need for New Westminster schools to keep up with the city's population growth.

Also high on candidates' radar is the need for mental health support for students, particularly coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, while safety and inclusion in schools are also top of mind.

Candidates also cited numerous other concerns, including the need to advocate for provincial funding, the need for before-and-after-school care, supports for staff and the climate crisis.

Their top-of-mind issues generally follow the same trend as responses to an online poll the Record ran asking readers to identify the most important issue for them in the school board race.

In that poll, safety, school capacity and COVID-19 emerged as the top three issues.

To find out where candidates stand on those and other issues of concern, check out each of their questionnaires (linked below) — and stay tuned for further coverage as the campaign unfolds.

Who's running for New Westminster school board in 2022

Marc Andres, Community First New West

Dee Beattie, Community First New West

Kathleen Carlsen, New West Progressives

Danielle Connelly, New West Progressives

Gurveen Dhaliwal, Community First New West

Teo Dobre, New West Progressives

Maya Russell, Community First New West

Elliott Slinn, Community First New West

Cheryl Sluis, Community First New West