CORRECTION: A previous version of this article, which appeared in print, stated the incorrect byelection date and deadline date for nominations. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 26 at noon with a potential byelection taking place Oct. 24. We apologize for the errors.
ATHABASCA – Aspen View Public Schools is searching for a new trustee following the resignation of Ward 1 (Northwest) trustee Cindy Lutz last week.
The school division’s six other trustees accepted the resignation of the Smith/Baptiste Lake area trustee at their first meeting of the new school year Sept. 9, and set Monday, Oct. 24, as byelection day, if required. Nomination forms can be found at https://www.aspenview.org or can be picked up at the division office at the Athabasca County building. Nominations are open until Sept. 26.
“The decision was not an easy one, however, I don’t believe I had any other choice,” Lutz said in a Sept. 9 media release from Aspen View. “I am not able to fulfill my duties for my constituents, as well as be a part of a wonderful board and administration on the level that is required. I enjoyed my time here as a trustee and getting the chance to know some of the great people in Smith was a great experience. It was a pleasure and an honour to work with such a wonderful group of people and I wish you all the best and a wonderful year.”
Lutz was a first-time trustee, acclaimed to the position prior to the October 2021 municipal and school board elections in Alberta. The position was formerly held by Nancy Sand, who is now a councillor for the M.D. of Lesser Slave River.
Board chair Candy Nikipelo said she saw Lutz grow a lot in the year she was at the table representing Smith School and the many other Athabasca school students that reside in the western portion of the division. Ward 1 (Northwest) stretches from Baptiste Lake in the south, all the way to Smith in the north.
“Of course, we accept her resignation with regrets. Trustee Lutz has grown exponentially in her position throughout the year, and it was a pleasure having her on the board with us,” said Nikipelo.
Supt. Neil O’Shea reiterated those thoughts.
“She was new to the position and really developed an understanding for the role as the year progressed and was a pleasure to work with,” he said.
O’Shea went on to point out the division is not obligated to hold a byelection, as per the School Act, after the first year of a four-year term on the board, as long as six trustees remain at the table.
Trustee April Bauer said it was important to have representation in all the division’s wards, with the board agreeing unanimously that the process to begin finding a replacement was necessary.
“I think it’s important that we have representation from Smith; it’s a unique part of our division and I think it’s important that we have a delegate of some kind representing that area specifically,” she said.
Secretary treasurer Aimee Hirtle laid out some of the details that would be involved in the byelection, which would require more than one candidate to come forward.
Election polling stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day; no deposit is required for candidates to put their names forward; and there will be no advance polls.