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Boate hopes to continue family's education tradition as trustee

'It is not clear to most of the public the power that the board has,' says Ken Boate, who's running for public board trustee in Barrie Wards 4-6
Ken Boate is running for Simcoe County District School Board trustee in Barrie Wards 4-6.

Editor's note: BarrieToday has asked candidates for school board trustee in Barrie to provide a synopsis of why they are running for public office. The following is from Ken Boate, who is running for Simcoe County District School Board trustee in Barrie Wards 4-6. Municipal elections take place Oct. 24. For more election coverage, visit our 2022 municipal election page by clicking here, where you can find candidate profiles and other election news. 

I am Ken Boate and I am a licensed professional engineer, who lives and works in Barrie.

My partner and I have two teenage sons who are both in high school within the Simcoe County District School Board. As parents, we have actively supported our children in their educational journey. In addition, I am descended from a long line of educators. For the past 70 years, three of my four grandparents, both my parents and my partner have been active educators.  

Twelve representatives from across Simcoe County, with varying experience and understanding of the education system, sit on the board of trustees. It is not clear to most of the public the power that the board has. These 12 people are responsible for administering a $600-million-plus taxpayer funded budget. They create and influence educational policy that affects our children’s daily educational experiences. 

This power must be used in a way that is representative of the community and responsive to the humans the education system is meant to serve. To effectively operate as a board, each member must be willing to develop community with each other, listen to diverse viewpoints, respectfully question information presented, and use those diverse perspectives to move the system forward.  

In my career as a professional engineer, project manager, and departmental leader, I have led multi-disciplinary teams, managed multi-million-dollar project budgets, co-ordinated stakeholders and mitigated risks for over 20 years. It is time for me to utilize this skill set to support the activities of the board, and the community at large.

To drive change, we need a focus on holistic advocacy and community engagement. The public education system needs progressive voices with systemic knowledge and critical thinking skills. Society has given me the freedom to use my voice to share and amplify other voices in our community. Having that privilege, I am running to support students, educators, and parents as we navigate these dynamic times.   

Finally, I believe that public access to the board and board meetings needs to be enhanced. Little changes can make a big difference in the perception of the public. Opening doors again, providing a public question and answer period at meetings and removing barriers to access will aid in the greater understanding of what the board does, and how stakeholders can actively engage within their educational system.   

I ask for your support this October to start the changes that are long overdue.  

For more information, please see my website.