5 Reasons People Run For School Board Trustee
Albertans are headed to the polls this fall in municipal elections and that includes electing school board trustees. In Wolf Creek Public Schools’ there are six trustees that serve on the Wolf Creek Public Schools’ Board of Trustees. The school division’s Board is set up with five wards, and a ward review in 2020 changed that structure and the communities and areas within each ward.
Ward A, which will have one trustee, consists of east portions of Ponoka County and Lacombe County, including the Villages of Alix, Mirror and Clive.
Ward B, which will have one trustee, consists of the central portion of Ponoka County, including the Town of Ponoka and the Summer Village of Parkland Beach.
Ward C, which will have one trustee, consists of the west portion of Ponoka County and Lacombe County, and additionally the Town of Rimbey, Summer Village of Birchcliff, Summer Village of Sunbreaker Cove, Summer Village of Half Moon Bay, Town of Eckville, and the Town of Bentley and a portion of Clearwater County served by the Ponoka County for school purposes only.
Ward D, which will have two trustees, consists of the central portion of Lacombe County and includes the City of Lacombe and the Summer Village of Gull Lake.
Ward E, which will have one trustee, consists of the Town of Blackfalds.
Wards were reviewed and redrawn for equitable trustee representation throughout the Division and included public meetings in Ponoka, Lacombe and Blackfalds before the final Board decision on the revised structure. See the Ward Boundary Map or Board Policy 7 on the Wolf Creek website for full ward details.
With the new structure in place for the 2021 Wolf Creek school board election, as part of Alberta-wide municipal elections October 18, 2021, many people may be wondering about the school board, being a trustee, and why to run. To that end, here are:
5 Reasons People Run for School Board Trustee
1. To be involved in their school community
Former WCPS trustee Barb Walker says she ran for trustee when she had three children in grades 4, 6 and 10.
“I had worked with a lot of families, especially vulnerable families, and I had spent years and years on parent councils in the various schools. So I knew that the decisions that the board made had very real consequences for students and their families,” she said.
“I think the first thing a trustee has to do is engage your community. Talk to, be involved with the community you are representing and then when you come to the Board table you need to have your homework done; you need to know what the issues are.”
2. To be involved in education
Former WCPS trustee Bob Huff was a retired teacher when he decided to run for school trustee. “I was finishing my teaching career and I wanted to continue my teaching career at a different level. Therefore I thought being a trustee would fit into my lifestyle; it would enable me to do the things that I have felt needed to happen to make the school system much better for the students,” he said. “I think the role of a school trustee and the Board is oversight. To make sure that schooling, education, the learning of students is happening, I think it is critical that there be a group of people who are able to analyze the results, a group of people who are responsible to the electorate who can say that the school system is doing what it is expected to do, and the students are in fact learning.”
3. To make change to benefit students and school communities
Walker said school boards do have a real impact on students and communities and those changes can extend throughout the entire province. She points to a change in the weighting of diploma exams for high school students that changed in 2015 from 50% to 30% following lobbying and advocacy to Alberta Education from school boards.
“The boards got together and said this is not right and had it brought down to 30 per cent. That’s an easy to understand example, but yes we do have a voice and it’s our job to use it,” she said.
4. To make changes that better a community
At the Board level trustees can work together to bring projects forward, through the capital plan, that have real benefit not just for the school, but for the overall community. A new high school for Blackfalds is something the Wolf Creek Board worked to include on its capital plan for years, and it has since been approved by Alberta Education and the project is now proceeding to development.
“I think what a potential school trustee has to understand is that you start getting these things on the three year plan and then you can work them to the point that Alberta Education will say ‘hey, I think that three year plan is indicating that the students in Blackfalds need a high school,” said Huff.
Another example is the Board moving funds forward for modernization to the CTS labs at Rimbey Junior/Senior High School in 2019.
5. To strengthen relationships across all partners in education in the school division
From attending school council meetings, to listening to teachers, staff, students, parents and families communications and relationships are key to the Board.
“You learn a lot about the kids, the communities, the strengths they have,” said Walker. “Honestly I think we can all learn a lot from the students. They, I think, are a lot better than we are at looking at the whole world, accepting it for what it is, the diversity within it, and disagreeing in a positive way.”
“I think one can certainly attest to the fact that you are going to build a better school system,” said Huff. “It takes lots and lots of people with input.”
For more information, nomination forms, and to see what WCPS ward you reside in, please visit: https://www.wolfcreek.ab.ca/school-division/school-board/thinking-of-running-for-trustee
Nomination forms must be filed with the Returning Officer, or deputy, at the Division Office on or before Nomination Day, September 20, 2021 by 12:00 noon.