Ex-trustee Bekkering seeks return to school board

A former School District 57 school trustee is seeking a return to the board.

Betty Bekkering was an elected representative from 2011-14 and has announced her intention to run again in 2018.

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Bekkering's foremost motivation came when she saw how many former teachers won school board positions in the 2014 election based on "a strategy of the BC Teachers' Federation," she said.

Bekkering is generally supportive of the union movement, but felt it went too far.

"For the past four years I've always felt that was an unbalanced representation for school districts," she said.

"It seemed unequally in favour of the teachers' agenda. I like to think of students coming first."

Her second motivation came from the journals kept by her late husband Henk who passed away in October.

"There were several entries encouraging me to run again for school board," she said. "It took me awhile to decide, but I thought I'd always regret not giving it a try to rectify the unbalance in the board make-up."

Prior to her election to school board, Bekkering was a federal NDP candidate in 2008 and a municipal candidate in 2005.

Now retired, Bekkering was the co-operative education co-ordinator at CNC.

While there, Bekkering was an executive member of the staff union, chief negotiator for two collective agreements and served as staff representative on CNC's board of governors.

As a parent, Bekkering was a member of a school district committee in the 1980s that sparked the transition to parent advisory councils (PACs) from the old parent-teacher associations (PTAs).

She was also the district-parent representative for Vancouver Centre, home to 24 schools, and sat on a race relations policy committee for the Vancouver school board.

Bekkering also co-founded the active local air-quality advocacy organization People's Action Committee for Healthy Air (PACHA).

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