Greg Keller

For School District 68 Trustee

Key Issues

While there are many critical issues facing the School District, the following highlights three critical issues facing the School District:

The provincial funding model is inadequate to support the needs of a complex district like ours. As a district with significant socio-economic challenges, we have a substantial number of students who live in poverty and/or who have complex learning or support needs. Further, we are starting to realize that perhaps the biggest impact that COVID has had on students is mental health and the supports that are required to assist students entering the school system who have not had the opportunity to experience this type of learning environment.

In response, we need to direct more resources towards providing Educational Assistants, Child and Youth Support Workers, School Councillors, and other in-school supports to maximize opportunities in support of student success. We need to ensure that we support each student’s unique needs and learning styles. We also need to ensure that students have access to appropriate learning aids and materials and that these items are provided free of charge to all students.

My priorities with respect to this issue are:

  • Support increased spending on student supports, programs, and services.

  • Support teachers needs and their ability to provide quality educational services.

  • Increase student access to mental health professionals and specialists to meet each student’s unique needs.

  • Engage with Parent Advisory Committees, parents, and students and represent their needs at the Board table.

  • Focus spending close to the classroom to serve the needs of current students.

  • Advocate for increased funding for public education at the provincial level.


I was successful in advocating for a more comprehensive and holistic approach to estimating growth projections for the purpose of our Long-Range Facilities Plan. Through this enhanced process which factors in development potential based on local government planning regulations, the district is now projecting significant growth in the next decade. If the projections hold true, our schools will be 25% over capacity by 2030 overall with some schools as much as 94% over capacity. This poses a significant challenge given the nature of how school capacity is added and the costs involved.

My priorities with respect to this issue are:

  • Support annual major capital requests that request additional capacity or new facilities.

  • Closely monitor growth in our District.

  • Support staff resources required to administer capital projects.

  • Communicate information about the state of our facilities and our needs to our community.

  • Advocate for provincial funding.

Aging Facilities and Condition

I was honoured to represent the Board of Education this year at the NDSS graduation ceremony. It was disheartening to hear in the excellent speeches and performances that staff and students reflect on their most memorable moments of the school relate to its poor condition, rodents, insects, and closed washrooms.

Aging facilities across the district are placing students in inefficient and outdated educational facilities. Many of our schools are well past the end of their useful life and are older than the provincial average.

The condition of our facilities is measured with a system called the Facility Condition Index (FCI) where a lower FCI score means the facility is in better shape than a higher FCI score. As a result of the provincial funding model, the district is forced to be reactionary versus proactive in terms of maintenance. Our FCI score is 0.434. It is important to note any score greater than 0.3 indicates that the facility has critical needs. It has been suggested that the district has tens of millions of dollars of deferred maintenance required to lower our overall FCI score to 0.3.

My priorities with respect to this issue are:

  • Support a focus on the use of District CUPE workers for all maintenance tasks,

  • Find ways to fill hard to fill positions with our own work force (i.e., HVAC technicians).

  • If opportunities arise to transfer operating funds to local capital, focus on maintenance needs.

  • Advocate for provincial funding to assist with the resources needed to bring our facilities up to a reasonable standard.

Seismic Needs

Changes to the 2015 National Building Code related to the intensity of a subduction event off of the west coast of Vancouver Island have resulted in significant seismic implications for the district.

As a result of a seismic reassessment, 84% or 36 facilities are in need of seismic mitigation. This places the district at the centre of seismic needs at the provincial level. The district has been aggressively addressing the seismic needs with Pleasant Valley and Cilaire Elementary Schools nearly complete.

However, there continues to be a significant number of facilities in need.

My priorities with respect to this issue are:

  • Support the annual major capital requests related to seismic mitigation.

  • Advocate for provincial funding to support seismic projects.

  • Support hiring staff to administer these projects and deliver them in a timely manner.

Emergency preparedness is of key importance to student and staff safety. More emphasis, resources, and training needs to be devoted to ensuring that each school is prepared in the event of a natural disaster. The emergency plans need to be better communicated to parents so that each parent clearly understands the roles and responsibilities of the school district and what to do in the event of a natural disaster. Emergency communications and integration with the municipal emergency programs also needs to be highlighted.

My priorities for this issue are:

  • Encourage emergency preparedness drills and exercises at the district level involving the Board and all sites.

  • Encourage cooperation with Local Governments.

  • Support release time and resources to allow staff training.

  • Support funding emergency supplies to eliminate the need for local PAC’s to cover the cost of emergency supplies.