Tuesday, November 15, 2011

School Board Elections

On Monday night this week there was an all candidates meeting for the school district in which I live and occasionally work.

Some months ago there was a public meeting to discuss reorganization of the way trustees are elected with a number of options presented for consideration. I was a member of the public who attended that meeting. I think there were less than 5 of us in attendance.

The meeting last night was well attended and I thank my Twitter friend, trustee Lori Pratt, for tweeting the questions asked. Lori is the only trustee elected by acclamation and I congratulate her for offering her services to the district and agreeing to run again.

There are seven trustees and they are elected to represent the district as a whole, but they are elected in quasi geographic territories. Fourteen candidates were at the meeting last night vying for six positions and listening to the candidates introduce themselves, answer questions and give closing speeches it was reaffirmed in my mind how unfair our current process is.

In Gibsons municipality we elect a single trustee. There at two very good candidates and both are up for re-election having run in different areas last year. It is a shame that one of them has to be unseated from the board next year. They do have different opinions about a number of things, but that is not a bad thing, and both have dedicated a good number of hours to represent the electorate of the past number of years.

In the southern part of the peninsula, excepting Gibsons, there are seven candidates running for three positions. Three in, four out.

In Sechelt, two candidates will be elected from a field of five. Two in, three out.

Will some capable candidates not get elected? I think so. Will we elect the best seven of the fifteen people who have put their names forward? While opinions vary, In my opinion the answers are Yes  some capable candidates will not get elected and No we will not elect the best seven candidates.

Since all candidates are running for positions that require them to represent the entire district, there should be no concerns about regionalization.

I hope the new board will take restructuring of the district election policies in plenty of time to get ministry approval for a change in time for the 2014 election.

1 comment:

Silas said...

Well Bob, here you've certainly hit on a topic where the Gibsons candidates don't agree. I feel our students would be best served by a system where all voters have the right to select the BEST candidates for the whole Sunshine Coast. Furthermore, it's good for each individual community (and voter) to have every trustee electorally accountable to you rather than just 1-3. Is it better for one sub-community to have one representative vs. six whom you haven't elected, or to be represented by all seven, all of whom likely would've needed support from it in order to get elected? Clearly the latter. And the Sunshine Coast is small--some trustees really do feel that they represent only the places where they were elected, despite the oath we must take to the contrary, which makes good and fair governance a challenge.