Understanding the role of our public school board trustees is vital to the future of our education system. (PHOTO: GABRIELLE PYSKA)

With the election day on Monday, many are still struggling with the strenuous task of figuring out their ward candidates, who they’re voting for, a senate election and equalization referendum, and if they want or don’t want daylight savings come November. 

In the overload of voting info that locals must prepare for, public school board trustees are often left in the dust ー as voters may feel uninformed on the different candidates’ platforms. 

However, understanding the role of our public school board trustees and their platforms is vital to the democratic process, as these elected officials control a $1.3 billion budget and have more of an impact on our education system than some may think.

What is a public school board trustee and what do they do?

Before being able to properly decide which school board trustee you should vote for, you have to understand what they do and their role in our education system. 

According to the Calgary Board of Education, or CBE, seven school board trustees are elected to “guide our school system based on the values Calgarians have for their public education system.” This includes advocating for the CBE and its students, and developing governing policies that address student outcomes.

This includes being a representative for the public in terms of education. Marilyn Dennis, the CBE Board Chair and the current public school board trustee for Wards 5 and 10, says that one of the trustees main roles is to act as a bridge between Calgarians and administration.

“The board of trustees serves as the link between the public and the school board division,” she says. “So what I often say is that the board is the voice of the students and the families that we serve.”

Some of the school board trustees’ responsibilities include advocating on policy changes, such as the vote in April to revise and delay the government’s proposed K-12 curriculum pilot.

The curriculum, which was labelled as “fatally flawed” by the Alberta Teachers Association and gained scrutiny due to the curriculum’s language promoting “racism, sexism, and bigotry,” was denied by over 20 school boards across Alberta. 

Although the final decisions of the proposed curriculum still falls with the Alberta government, the school board trustees advocate for the voices of the general public, putting further pressure on the government’s final outcome.

While many Calgarians may simply glaze over the trustees section of their election ballot, it’s important to understand the weight that they hold in the public school system, impacting the quality and diversity of our K-12 public education. 

Who are the school board trustees in each ward?

Below is the list of each school board trustee candidate based on their wards, which you can see based on the map below or click here to find your ward. Some Calgarians may also be voting for the Calgary Catholic School Board as well, where more info can be found here.

A photo of the different city Wards that take effect for the election day on Monday, Oct. 18th 2021. (PHOTO FROM ELECTIONS CALGARY)

Ward 1 and 2

Ward 3 and 4

Ward 5 and 10

Ward 6 and 7

Ward 8 and 9

Ward 11 and 13

Ward 12 and 14

Click here to learn more or contact the trustees directly.

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