St. Paul Education is sending a letter to the Minister of Education requesting permission to reduce the number of trustees at the board table.
“The board itself can change its wards via bylaw, however, in order to change the number of trustees that has to be requested of the Minister. Once we have that approval, we can move on to the bylaw to amend our ward structure,” said Secretary-Treasurer Jean Champagne.
Currently St. Paul Education has seven trustee positions on the board, although the Division B (Myrnam) position has been vacant since Deb Pederson resigned in May 2019.
In an interview after the meeting, Board Chair Heather Starosielski said since Pederson’s resignation, responsibility for Myrnam has been shared by Lorne Young (Div. A, Elk Point) and Ruven Rajoo (Div. C, Two Hills).
“And we found that we’ve been more than sufficient in covering it, and ensuring that everybody has equitable representation there,” said Starosielski.
She noted the board has been discussing a redrawing of the division boundaries since the beginning of the year and saw the work put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of this has to be done before the end of this year, December 31, because there is an election upcoming next year,” said Starosielski.
School board trustees are elected at the same time as municipal councils. Because of changes made to the legislation governing councils and elections, the nomination period opens on Jan. 1, 2021 and closes Sept. 20, 2021.
The next municipal elections across Alberta are scheduled for Oct. 18, 2021.
“We’re trying to be more efficient and accountable to our ratepayers while at the same time, you know, finding efficiencies where we can,” said Starosielski.
Div. A trustee Lorne Young made a motion, “In keeping with requirements for suitable public representation and the need to streamline administrative expenses, the board requests the Minister of Education to vary the number of division trustees to be elected from the current seven down to six.”
The motion carried.
Starosielski noted there would still be room for a First Nations trustee to be appointed.
“That policy can be enacted any time and we have passed that information on to our neighboring First Nations. They still have that opportunity that can be appointed either by the minister or by them determining amongst themselves with our policy guidelines to appoint themselves,” said Starosielski.