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Four school trustee candidates see challenging times ahead

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The Swedes, he said, don’t start formal schooling until they are seven years old, yet the population is highly educated with a high literacy rate.

"That says to me that alternative approaches to school can be successful and perhaps the difference is in how well you execute the alternative schooling," he said.

Brett left the banking world when he came to Whistler, choosing to develop a wood working business and teach skiing.

Another new candidate, Bea Gonzalez, said she now has the time to devote her energy and attentions back into the community after spending the last four years concentrating on her family and her career.

The best way for her to get back involved in the community she said is as a school board trustee.

"I like to be involved in the community and for the past couple of years I’ve been really busy with family and work obligations and haven’t had the time," she said.

Gonzalez is a self-employed accountant with a 10-year-old daughter and another child on the way.

"Now things have changed in that area and I do have the time so I want to get involved in the community again and I thought this would be a very interesting place to focus my energy."

The major issue that she would like to tackle if elected as a school board trustee is the lack of a French immersion program at Myrtle Philip school.

The current course is only available for children of Francophone descent.

"I think it’s a real shame that it’s not open to everybody, that it’s only open to people with Francophone parentage," she said.

"I hear a lot of parents saying the same thing."

Gonzalez is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish, and recognizes the advantages of being able to speak two languages.

She has taught Spanish in Whistler.

The goal is to teach a language when kids are under 12 years old. After that it becomes harder to learn, she said.

"When you’re an adult trying to learn a language it’s a completely different thing than the way children learn languages," she said.

Gonzalez is also concerned about the logistics of the school boundary issue in Whistler.

"Right now all the after school programs are at Myrtle Philip so the kids can get there by themselves. But if your kids are at Spring Creek and gymnastics is at Myrtle Philip, how are they going to get there?" she asked.

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