The Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division will give the public the opportunity to decide who the next Weyburn trustee will be, and Dana Pretzer has once again thrown his hat into the ring.
A retired police officer 33 years with the Weyburn Police Service, Pretzer is a seasoned school board trustee with the SECPSD. This includes for Weyburn SD #97, Sunrise School Division (as Chair and Vice Chair) then SECPSD. He has been away from the school board since 2018.
"We're a small town, but we're a large school division," he said. "The electors of Weyburn Elect two representatives, and the people of Weyburn, the electors of Weyburn, and the parents, the staff, the teachers, even the kids should be able to know who their school division representative is, their trustee, to be able to come to them with concerns and questions."
He said he is looking to restore confidence in the public school division.
"I'm looking to put the provincial government's feet to the fire, so to speak, because even in my time going back 22 years, quite often school division has had to use their reserves in order to meet their budgets, and that's just absolutely ridiculous. We have the best schools, we have the best students, we have the best people in this community and it's about time that they get their money's worth, so accountability is another thing. If people have a problem, they should be able to come to you and ask that question."
Pretzer said in addition to accountability, accessibility is another thing he'd like to see more.
"They should be able to come to the board and say, listen, we don't agree with the decision you've made with COVID, and everything else here lately, it's been very tough for people, for students, for parents. A lot of kids have been homeschooled. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but we also have a wonderful education program in this country and I think we need to continue with it and support it."
He said he has been serving the people his whole adult life, "from the minute I joined the police force at age 18 to all the committees and boards and school divisions that I've been with, and I'm here to help. My kids grew up in this community. They all went through the school system. I've been a trustee and I want to bring my experience back to the board table and reassure the public, the electors, that I will represent the electors of Weyburn, and actually the whole division on all the important details."
Pretzer said this means especially supporting our kids and the teachers.
"And getting the government to kick up some more money because this using reserves and having to not fill positions is absolute nonsense," he commented.
One key point Pretzer wished to note was that in the 2016 by-election, there were two candidates, and there were only 44 votes in all.
"22 for him, and 22 for me. They had to put the names in a hat and draw them out and my name got drawn. We've got 12,000 people here. So, let's just say 6,000 are public school supporters. If you cut it down the middle, and only 44 people vote... If people don't come out and vote this time, then they really don't give it darn, and that's unfortunate."
Pretzer added his goals include being transparent, as well as recruiting and retaining teachers and support staff.
"Children are our future," he said. "We need to support that."
Hear Pretzer's full audio below.