Approximately 25% of the student body in St Paul Education Regional Division No 1 (SPERD) is bussed in from Frog Lake, Saddle Lake, and Goodfish Lake First Nations communities. However, under the provisions of the Local Authorities Election Act, they are not deemed residents of the St. Paul Education electoral area, so their parents are not eligible to vote in school board elections.
In January, the SPERD board of trustees created a position for a councillor to represent the First Nation students who attend SPERD schools. The new position is to be filled through appointment. Chief and Council from Saddle Lake, Whitefish Lake, Frog Lake, and Kehewin were “invited jointly to recommend a mutually agreed upon trustee nominee to serve on the board;” explains school board chair, Heather Starosielski, but “as of September 15 we have not received a nominee.”
Trustees bring forward and advocate for their respective community issues and concerns, although once they are on the board, they are entrusted with serving the needs of all students attending St. Paul Education schools. Says Starosielski, “The First Nation trustee will have the same rights and responsibilities as the seven trustees elected to the Board, with a four-year term commencing in the Fall of 2017. We are all accountable to the entire community and to the Provincial Government.”
The position remains open for a trustee to join the new school board following elections in October.