If you’ve ever considered running for school board trustee, now’s the time. Nominations for candidates close on Sept. 20.
Roger Hall, secretary treasurer and Returning Officer for Wolf Creek Public Schools, gave some insight into the school board trustee election process and recent changes to ward boundaries in an interview with Ponoka News.
Candidates often run for school board trustee because they have their own concerns they want to bring forward, and the population they represent also contacts them with concerns, says Hall.
“That’s what it is to be a trustee — you have to think of the whole jurisdiction,” he said.
“Providing a voice to the public education system is something that is very rewarding for a lot of trustees.”
Don’t let a lack of education-specific experience deter you either, says Hall.
“As long as you’ve gone through an education system, you have a background in education,” said Hall.
“All perspectives are important in the governing process.”
Wolf Creek is very good at gathering stakeholder input and trustees are part of that as well, he says.
“Anyone can contribute … it’s definitely a learning curve, but definitely something worth learning.”
With five wards with one trustee each except for Ward D, which has two, there are a total of six trustee positions to fill.
Public school board elections are being handled by municipalities. That means that when voters go to their voting stations on Oct. 18 to cast their ballot for their choice of councillors and mayor or reeve, they will also get to select their choice of school board trustee.
To be eligible to run as a school board trustee, you must have no criminal record and have been a resident of your ward for at least six months immediately before the election, and not be otherwise ineligible or disqualified.
A nomination form must also be signed by five constituents of the ward.
By the beginning of September, only four nominations had been received.
Should there only be six candidates, they would win their spots by acclamation. In the event that more than six candidates file their nomination papers before the deadline, those wards will be decided by ballot.
Candidates also have the option of withdrawing after nominations close if there was more than one candidate for their ward.
Should no nominations be received for a ward by the deadline, nominations will be held open for an extra day.
Last year, the school division underwent a boundary revision. The ward changes were finalized on Dec. 16, 2020.
“The board wrestled long and hard on it,” said Hall.
“The ward boundary changes were to present the population better,” he said, adding the changes were a long time coming.
“This is a much better representation of population for Wolf Creek,” he said.
There are now two new ward boundaries that have no incumbents: Ward B, which encompasses the Town of Ponoka and Division Three of Ponoka County, as well as a new ward for Blackfalds, Ward E.
Hall says although Blackfalds has always been represented by a trustee, having their own ward is an opportunity for a Blackfalds resident to “give another perspective to the school division governing process.”
For more information on the ward boundary changes and information for prospective candidates, visit wolfcreek.ab.ca.