Milton Mahoney, who won a seat as a trustee on the School District No. 57 (SD57) board during the January by-election, is running again.
He said after he was elected in January 2022 during the by-election he found out “just how terribly the local school district is functioning.”
Mahoney says he is running again to ensure a better and brighter future for all the students and staff and asserts he has the skills and knowledge to make change.
He is a red sealed tradesman with an instructor’s certificate with over 60 years in the workforce where he held positions in unions from president to legislative representative.
“What happened are senior administrators and board members treated the district like their own personal empire for political advancement or superfluous recognition in the community,” said Mahoney. “Also focusing only on one interest group, not the whole student body as elected to do or hired to do.”
Mahoney said during his time as a trustee he has observed and has been told of incidents of bullying, harassment and general intimidation within the system.
“I can relate since they can’t fire me, they have been trying to silence me since I was elected but won’t turn my back on the students and staff or parents,” he said.
He said teachers, students, parents and unionized employees must have a larger voice as they are entitled to a safe learning and working environment.
“If re-elected as a trustee in SD57 I promise to address all these issues and more, including raising the bar for all our students to succeed.”
Mahoney also raises issue with the special advisors assigned to work with SD57 calling them “a big part of the problem.”
Mahoney said the special advisors are “acting on information given under false pretenses and choosing to narrow their focus to examine only the relationship between the Indigenous nations and the school district.”
Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside appointed special advisors Kory Wilson and Catherine McGregor to review governance practices in School District 57 back in February 2021.
Their report, released in August 2021, was based on 56 interviews and a review of documents. It found Indigenous students are disproportionately held back, placed in alternative programs or classes and removed from the typical graduation path.
The report said there is a clear and palpable lack of trust between many Indigenous stakeholders, First Nations and the school district, as well as a "substantial culture of fear" around raising concerns.
Wilson and Roderick Allen, who previously served as the Interim Superintendent of SD57, have again been appointed as special advisors to work with the SD57 board of education for a term from July 15, 2022 until July 28, 2023.
Their appointment is to help continue to implement the recommendations outlined in the initial report.
Mahoney said he believes this leaves out all other areas of governance and all other relationships within the district. He said by implementing their recommendations directly to the senior administration and schools they are bypassing the board.
“SD57 needs to be Switzerland - no politics - they must remember their function is education ensuring every student succeeds."
On Oct. 15 voters will have to elect five trustees to represent Prince George on the board of education.