Ahead of election Saskatchewan Rivers board reviews election committee report

The Sask Rivers Education Centre/ Daily Herald File Photo

Ahead of the election on November 9 and during the final meeting of the current board,  the Saskatchewan Rivers School reviewed the final School Board Election Review Committee report Monday.

The report was given by board vice-chair and committee chair Jaimie Smith-Windsor and director of education Robert Bratvold explained that they do something similar each election cycle.

“It is something that we try and strengthen every time we go through it,” Bratvold said.

The committee was formed at the board’s regular meeting on May 4.

“All of the careful processes are in place to make sure elections will run fairly and smoothly. But it is also just an exciting piece about a chance to exercise your democratic right and have your local voice heard in school board governance so it is an exciting thing,” Bratvold said.

The committee itself was made up of a mix of in-city and rural trustees along with administration.

Matters dealt with in the report included reviewing and renewing the board candidate’s package. The City of Prince Albert manages the in-city aspect of elections while the division is in charge of the rural portion. To make changes to the in-city package would require a formal request. The report noted that the information provided in both packages should be similar.

To have sufficient information for all candidates, the report recommends developing a one-page resource to provide additional information. This includes things like important board policies, the board Strategic Plan, public engagement expectations for trustees and other important parts of the work of the board.

This did not make it into the 2020 package but it was on the division’s website election information portal. The committee was not unanimous that trustee remuneration be included as part of the election process. It was consistent with administrative procedure to not include this.

They also recommended hosting an information session for possible rural trustees similar to that hosted by the City of Prince Albert.

The committee also made recommendations to encourage engagement including items already incorporated such as having biographies available. They recommended having electronic resources available ahead of the next election.

Bratvold encouraged stakeholders to look at the candidate profiles on the website

“We will continue to put those profiles up. We have today and tomorrow for people to file nominations,” he said on Oct. 6 ahead of the nomination deadline at 4 p.m. on Oct. 7.

Current candidates (as of Oct. 6) include incumbent Bill Yeaman in Subdivision 1, incumbent Darlene Rowden in Subdivision 2, incumbent Smith-Windsor in Subdivision 3. In Subdivision 4, which includes Shellbrook and area incumbent John McIvor is being contested by Cher Bloom. Finally in Subdivision 5 the only announced candidate is incumbent Bill Gerow. In the City of Prince Albert candidates include incumbents Arne Lindberg, Michelle Vickers, Grant Gustafson and chair Barry Hollick, other candidates include Cherise Arnesen and Allan Nunn.

“Elections are a positive thing. I know that is sort of an uncomfortable experience for a trustee who has been sitting there for four years doing great work to have someone else vie for that seat, it is a little bit of an uncomfortable. It is positive for our democracy and it is positive for our community,” he explained.

Bratvold believes that it is important for all stakeholders whether they have children in schools or not.

“Schools serve society and not just the members of society who are children or parents with children. They have an impact on greater society. So have your voice heard whether you have never had kids or you had kids who have finished the k to 12 system, it is important,” Bratvold said.