Former Rocky View County councillor Jerry Arshinoff wants to re-enter politics as a school trustee for Rocky View Schools (RVS) Ward 5, and said his history as a high school principal makes him a strong candidate.
Arshinoff sat one term on the Rocky View County council, and was defeated in the 2017 municipal election. The Springbank resident said it makes sense with his two decades of experience as a Calgary high school principal for him to return to politics as a school board trustee. His children, and now his grandchildren, also attended RVS schools, he added.
“I think I know something about schools and there is a number of issues, specifically COVID and the precautions, or the lack thereof that have caused me great concern,” he said. “I think that is the single greatest issue, the most immediate for sure.”
RVS hasn’t done enough to mitigate the risks for students when it comes to COVID-related safety, Arshinoff argued. If elected, he said he would like to see a requirement for school staff, visitors and volunteers to have two vaccinations within three weeks to a month, earlier than the provincial government’s mid-December deadline.
“Priority number one is schools need to be safe and kids need to be healthy,” he said.
The division also needs to take a strong stance against the government’s Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum, Arshinoff added.
“How to proceed is to get the rest of the board to push for it to be scrapped for it to be redone, significantly redone or scrapped on the basis of what the vast majority of teachers and parents are saying,” he said.
He said parents should also have a large say in what is included in what elementary school children are taught.
“Parents play an extremely important role all the way through school, but especially with the little guys,” Arshinoff said. “The parents do know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate and this is bad.”
Planning for growth in the entire division is also important in RVS, he added.
“In not too long, we are going to need some more schools,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve reached that critical point yet, but it is coming soon. There are schools in Rocky View that are growing quite significantly…in some schools, the class sizes are too big.”
Arshinoff said he was caught off guard by a full-page ad in last week’s paper run by a group calling itself Albertans for Property Rights and Democracy that called his term on council controversial and questioned his endorsement of a number of Rocky View County candidates.
He said the ad’s author is not named and is not an identifiable group that can be found on the Internet.
“It is gutless, it is extremely gutless,” he said, adding that the ad talks about his candidacy with the federal Liberal Party in the 1980s but said his party allegiance changed many years ago.
“They are picking on nonsense from over 40 years ago,” he said.
Arshinoff can be reached at 403-542-9789 and by email at [email protected]