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Whistler voters to elect two school trustees Saturday

On the same election ballot where Whistlerites will decide their mayor and council for the next three years, there is also a spot to choose two school trustees.

On the same election ballot where Whistlerites will decide their mayor and council for the next three years, there is also a spot to choose two school trustees.

The four candidates running this year are incumbent Andrée Janyk, Don Brett, Bea Gonzalez and Richard Wyne.

Current Whistler school trustee Alix Nicoll, who is not running in the upcoming election, said the position of school trustee can have a great influence on the future education of Whistler’s kids.

"School trustees have a major task ahead of them in the coming years," she said in a letter to Pique Newsmagazine.

"The serious cutbacks in funding will affect all schools and trustees must be willing to move with the times and look at funding in a different light. We must use the tools that the government has given us and enact, not react."

The two Whistler school trustees sit on the Howe Sound District School Board, School District #48, which includes Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.

The board is made up of six school trustees – two from Whistler, two from Squamish, and one from Pemberton and one representing rural areas.

The following is a brief run down of the four candidates who will appear on tomorrow’s election ballot.

Andrée Janyk – Janyk has been a school trustee for the past six years.

"I think it’s important to have someone who creates some continuity with this community to the board," she said.

She is also active at a provincial level. Her fellow trustees have elected her three years and running to the British Columbia Public School Employers Association.

She has always been passionate about education having three children who have graduated or are graduating from Whistler Secondary School.

Don Brett – Brett has been the Parent Advisory Council chair for Myrtle Philip School and the District Parent Advisory Council representative for the past two years.

He has been living in Whistler for three years with two children in the elementary school and one in high school.

He has a background in international banking.

"I think the organizational skills, which I have developed, are critical to the success of the school district and that is what I bring," he said.

Bea Gonzalez – Gonzalez is a self-employed accountant with a 10-year-old daughter in the school system and another on the way. She is concerned about the lack of French immersion for all students in Whistler as well as the logistics of the school boundaries.

She said her accounting background will stand her in good stead as a school trustee.

"I have an understanding of how... the generally accepted accounting principles can be applied in a non-profit government funded situation," she said.

Richard Wyne – Wyne has been involved in a number of community activities since moving to Whistler almost 13 years ago. He has been in the schools teaching avalanche awareness, as well as counselling young people at the S.A.F.E. clinic.

"The only way that I think I can be a part of the development and implementation of good things in the education system would be for me to be on the trustee board," he said.

He is an advocate of French education for all Whistler kids. He is also concerned about the logistics of the school boundaries.