A candidate for trustee in Wetaskiwin Regional Public School’s division 3 election has 30 years of experience as a bus driver and transportation manager.
Ray Unger, a farmer and school bus driver with 30 years experience, feels he has a lot to offer as trustee. Unger’s wife Barb is a businesswoman in Millet, and the couple have four married children plus grandchildren too.
When asked why he wanted to run in the trustee election, Unger said he feels his experience would make him a good trustee. “Because I feel I can do a good job of it,” said Unger by phone Oct. 15. “I just feel I have a vested interest because I do have grandchildren in the Wetaskiwin school division.”
Unger said he spent many years driving a school bus, and also spent 10 years as bus supervisor at Maskwacis. In all those years he said he handled community issues, discipline and dealt with students, parents and teachers over a variety of issues.
“I enjoyed it,” he said of his three decades working in the school division. “If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t be running for this.”
Unger also said a major focus for any trustee has to be the children in the classroom. “For me kids are kids, there are a lot of good kids out there,” he said. Unger said he wants to make sure parents and students know what the school system can do for them and that families get as much out of the system as possible.
Unger stated that representing voters means getting to know people and being accessible in the community. “You need to hear everybody out,” he said.
Looking at goals he could achieve if elected as trustee, Unger said he’s learned a lot about government as a farmer. Grants and other programs are available to the public, and Unger said he’s found them to be fairly accessible. However, he’s curious if school boards can enjoy the same benefits, and if so, whether they are taking advantage of them. “There are grants for farmers, there must be grants for schools. I think it’s a really good idea,” he added. Unger noted even some other members of the farm community think that accessing grants is a difficult job, and it really isn’t.
Another goal Unger has is shining a light on the bullying problem. As a bus driver and supervisor Unger said he saw and handled a number of issues, and wants to prevent as much of it as possible. “I don’t say ‘oh well,’” said Unger. “It’s not something you take lightly. Problems don’t go away. They fester.”
He said he also learned a lot from the kids when he was a bus driver. Unger said when kids get to know you and know that you have rules in place and are fair, then they will learn to respect you, and vice-versa.
Unger said, as a trustee, he would work with stakeholders to gather information, but isn’t somebody who would be easily intimidated. “Nobody is going to be pushing me around,” he added.
A candidate’s forum will be held Oct. 27 at Pigeon Lake School. The forum starts at 7 p.m. All candidates have confirmed they are attending.
The trustee election for WRPS division 3, including Pipestone, Lakedell, Falun and Pigeon Lake areas, will be held Nov. 2.