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More candidates needed for Pembina Hills school board

Only half of the six seats on the board will be filled with current slate of nominees
Electoral Wards copy
This graphic displays the six new electoral wards that the Pembina Hills School Division will be split into following the Oct. 18 election. Pembina Hills East — Wards 1, 2 and 3 are on the Westlock side, while Pembina Hills West — Wards 1, 2 and 3 are on the Barrhead side. Currently, only three of the electoral wards have nominees, which would leave the board only half-filled.

BARRHEAD/WESTLOCK - With only a week left until nomination day Sept. 20, only three candidates have only stepped forward to fill the six seats on the Pembina Hills School Division board.

Because of the re-drawing of electoral boundaries that comes into effect during the Oct. 18 election, the current seven wards on the Pembina Hills school board are being re-organized into six. 

Pembina Hills East – Ward 1 covers an area that covers Clyde, Busby, Pickardville, Tawatinaw and Vimy, while Pembina Hills East — Ward 2 covers Flatbush, Fawcett, Jarvie, Dapp and Linaria. 

Pembina Hills West — Ward 1 encompasses a region that includes Neerlandia, Dunstable, Meadowview and Mosside, while Pembina Hills West — Ward 2 covers Swan Hills, Fort Assiniboine, Camp Creek, Tiger Lily and other small communities. 

The towns of Westlock and Barrhead are covered respectively by Pembina Hills East — Ward 3 and Pembina Hills West — Ward 3. 

Of the five trustees currently sitting on the board and only one, Judy Lefebvre, has indicated she is running for re-election in Pembina Hills West — Ward 3. 

According to the Pembina Hills website, Maureen Schnirer has put her name forward to represent Pembina Hills East — Ward 1. 

Cindy Carswell has filed her papers to represent Pembina Hills West — Ward 2, while Gary Frederickson is in the running for Pembina Hills West — Ward 3. 

In order to become a candidate for the school board, individuals must complete a nomination package, which can be found at the Pembina Hills website or by visiting the regional office in Barrhead. 

They must also produce a minimum of five signatures from electors residing within the ward they wish to represent. 

“It is a great way to serve your community and be involved in our schools,” says Pembina Hills board chair Jennifer Tuininga. 

Tuininga pointed out that school trustees’ decisions and policies create a strong educational system that contributes to the future of youth. 

Serving as a trustee is also a great way to broaden one’s interest and passion for education while advocating for students, she said, and locally-elected trustees are able to make educational decisions that reflect the needs of local students and communities.

The division's election page referenced above has several one-minute videos that explain the role of the trustee, their responsibilities and what kind of time commitment it requires.

According to the Education Act, if there is a vacancy on a board consisting of five or fewer trustees, a by-election must be held unless it is the fourth year following a general election. 

When two attempts to fill a vacancy on a board have been made and no nominations have been put forward, the Minister of Education may appoint individuals to fill a vacancy (in consultation with the current board).

Kevin Berger, TownandCountryToday.com



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