The wards for St. Paul Education Regional Division No. 1 are officially updated following the SPERD board meeting on Dec. 9.
The board needed to adjust the boundaries to accommodate for reducing the number of trustees on the board by one, from seven to six.
According to the information from the SPERD website, the new boundaries will see a total of six trustees elected from five wards.
“Wards D and E are now being combined into one ward that will elect two trustees,” it reads.
“The current structure splits the Town of St. Paul down Main Street. In the past, there has been interest from multiple candidates on one side of town and none on the other. Allowing for a larger region with two candidates at large will make it easier for candidates to participate.”
A comparison of the current and proposed maps also shows the current Ward B (Myrnam) and C (Two Hills) amalgamating and some minor boundary changes to Ward A (Elk Point).
According to the letter, the Glen Avon ward would not be changing because of the amount of background work required “including a faith census of our entire region.”
SPERD received a letter approving the redistricting from the Minister of Education on Nov. 24.
At the County of St. Paul council meeting Nov. 10, Div. 1 Coun. Darrell Younghans had been concerned about the potential for an appointed trustee under the new system, citing the importance of democracy. Both the current and proposed governance models included a provision for a trustee to be appointed by the First Nations within the SPERD region.
Reeve Steve Upham had worried about the potential for gridlock within the board by having an even number of people sitting around the table.
According to Board Chair Heather Starosielski, following her discussion with Upham the County had no concerns.
Div. E Trustee Dwight Wiebe said all the feedback he had received at school councils on the redistricting had been positive. He made a motion for the bylaw to receive second reading, which carried.
Div. C Trustee Ruven Rajoo said he did meet with the Town and County of Two Hills as well as the Village of Myrnam to discuss the changes and answer questions.
“And for the most part, they understand the logic and the reasoning behind some of these, the proposed redesign,” said Rajoo, before making the motion to give the bylaw third reading. The motion carried.
The new ward boundaries will be in effect for the Oct. 2021 election.