Consider running for school division trustee

SPN Staff

School board elections are scheduled for Oct. 18 with the nomination deadline Sept. 20.
Peace River School Division has provided information about the roles and values of school trustees in a format of questions and answers.
Some of the responses have been revised so they apply in general to any school division.
Nominations forms are available at school division offices and online.
Deadline for nominations is Sept. 20 at noon.

2021 School Trustee Elections Frequently Asked Questions.

Q1 – How do I know if I have what it takes to be a successful school board trustee?
Ask yourself:
-Am I prepared to put my community and students first?
If you answered “yes” and you’re willing to learn and work with other like-minded people in your community, you are well on your way.
You don’t need to be an expert in education, you just need to do your homework and serve your community and the students you represent.

Q2 – Do I have what it takes to be a successful school board trustee? Am I prepared to put my community and students first?
Successful school board trustees put the needs of students first.
They run for office because they passionately believe a quality education is one of the most important things a community can do to ensure students have the knowledge and skills that enable them to be better prepared for life.

Q3 – Do I need to be an expert in education?
No, you don’t.
The school board trustee does not serve as a professional educator or as the spokesperson for a particular interest group or region.
The ideal school board includes people from all aspects of life and is as representative as possible of the community it serves.

Q4 – What kind of training do new school board trustees get to help them be successful in their roles?
School divisions provide training and professional development for new trustees.

Q5 – What do school board trustees do?
School board trustees are local people elected by and are accountable to the community they serve.
The provincial government delegates to school boards the responsibility for conducting the affairs of the school jurisdiction.
The school board has many responsibilities.
Collectively the board:

  • -Sets school division goals that ensure students have the knowledge and skills that enable them to be better prepared for life;
  • -Plan school division priorities based on provincial curriculum requirements, community input, available resources and best practices in education;
  • -Develops and implements an annual budget for the school division based on curriculum requirements and strategic priorities;
  • -Develops policies to guide school division administration and employees toward division goals;
  • -Ensures residents of the school division are regularly informed about the work and achievements of the school division;
  • -Advocates on behalf of the school community to decision-makers and stakeholders on important issues that affect education, and to ensure education is a top public priority;
  • -Ensures regular opportunities for public input and access;
  • -Evaluates the school division’s chief executive officer – the superintendent of schools.

Q6 – How do I know if I’m eligible to run for school board trustee?
Are there restrictions on who can run for school board trustee?
You are not eligible to run if, on nomination day, you:

  • -Are an employee of any school district, school division, charter school or private school as of nomination day – unless you take an unpaid leave of absence to run before the last working day prior to nomination day;
  • -Are an auditor of the jurisdiction in which you want to be a candidate;
  • -Do not meet the residency requirement for the jurisdiction in which you want to run;
  • -Are otherwise ineligible or disqualified as outlined under section 22 of the Local Authorities Election Act.

Q7 – I know trustees cannot participate in making decisions where their economic self-interest could be in conflict with their public duty. Where can I find more information on conflict of interest issues as they relate to school board trustees?
Sections 85-96 of the Education Act contain more information on conflict of interest matters, including:

  • -The types of pecuniary interest;
  • -The steps a trustee who is in conflict must follow;
  • -The disqualification of a trustee;
  • -The consequence of refusing to resign upon being disqualified as required under the Education Act.

The economic or pecuniary interest of a trustee’s spouse or adult interdependent partner is deemed to be the economic interest of the trustee.
The most current version of the Education Act is posted online on the Alberta Queen’s Printer.

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