AMHERST – Richard Allen would like to see the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board create a long-term vision so every child can reach his or her full potential.
That’s why the Amherst resident is running for a position on the school board. He is facing incumbent David Myles for Amherst’s seat on the board.
“We need to ensure that we have programs in place that enable every child to reach their full potential. It is difficult to provide leadership and help carry out a vision when issues like overcrowded classrooms in schools, split classrooms and the transporting of children to different schools is taking place,” Allen said.
Allen, who is the president of the Cumberland County Minor Hockey Association, said the province needs to move ahead with construction of the new West Highlands Elementary as soon as possible in a location that is optimal for that area’s children.
Allen lives in Amherst and has two sons. He graduated from Acadia University with a bachelor of arts degree and from Saint Mary’s, where he receive a bachelor of commerce degree in marketing.
He said the school board must be responsive and receptive to parents, staff, students and town residents. It must take input from all groups and weight all the facts before making decisions.
He said the board sometimes has a top down approach that doesn’t consult with other stakeholders including teachers and parents.
“A board member is a trustee of the community that elects him or her,” he said. “That trustee must be accessible and willing to collaborate with all members of the community including the school advisory councils, teachers and most of all the parents.”
Allen said government cutbacks have hurt the education system and he fears the educational needs of the children are being compromised.
“The reality is that cutbacks will occur in some areas; but we need to ensure that the representative of the people makes sure that everyone is informed and these decisions are made with every consideration on how it will effect our children,” Allen said. “My efforts as a board member would centre on serving all of the children in the town; one child is no more important than another.