By Tim Kalinowski on May 4, 2017.
Running for a school board trustee position takes commitment, time and effort, but can also have great rewards for those willing to take up the challenge, says Dick Mastel, chair of the Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education.
“Trusteeship isn’t an all-day job but it is an everyday job,” says Mastel. “Rarely does a day go by where there isn’t something you have to do for it. What’s more important than where your children go to school? And the kinds of rules and policies that affect them? And yet, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest except when there are difficulties, or nasty situations occurring.”
Mastel says MHCBE, like many school boards, has struggled in the past to find candidates willing to run for trustee positions. He hopes the election this fall will be different.
“We are actively promoting parents to consider candidacy for trusteeship. The last election there were five positions available, and there were only five people who came forward; so we were all elected by acclamation. We encourage anyone who is interested to run.”
SD76 board chair Rick Massini says while his school district has not had the same problems attracting people to run for trusteeship, he is still hoping to see some quality people step forward to contend during the election this fall.
“We always want good people sitting on boards,” confirms Massini. “We want to be encouraging people to run for office. But people have to realize sitting on a board isn’t all glamour. There are very serious aspects of it, and there comes with that challenges people have to meet … It’s always appreciated when people who have got experience, who are well-informed, who understand the role of governance, apply for these positions.”
Recently, the Alberta School Boards Association unveiled a new resource page dedicated to helping those interested in running for trusteeship better understand the expectations, benefits and responsibilities of the role. Prairie Rose School Division communications co-ordinator Angela Baron says her district is fully supportive of this ASBA initiative, having had their own difficulties with trustee election and retention in the past.
“It is a role that takes a bit of commitment,” she confirms. “When you are in the rural areas, it’s further to drive to a meeting or school council. It’s further to go to an event. We do understand that is a challenge to run in the rural areas … So hopefully, this toolkit will help explain the role a little better. And make sure people run for the right reasons, and run to be involved, and know what they are getting into.”
To view the ASBA’s trustees resource page visit http://www.asba.ab.ca/trustee-election.
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