April 29, 2009
Ready, Set, Vote! Changes Announced for Upcoming School Board Elections
The election of school trustees for the
province's four district school boards will take a new approach this
coming fall, with increased funding and a renewed focus on building
candidate and voter participation. The Honourable Darin King, Minister
of Education announced the new process today, which will be supported by
the Williams Government's $400,000 allocation for school board elections
in Budget 2009.
"School board trustees are an important part of our school communities
and the overall education system of the province," said Minister King.
"Trustees are part of decision-making in areas that directly affect
students and individual schools. As such, we want to make every effort
to ensure a successful election process that will encourage individuals
to put their names forward for these positions, and entice more people
to take part in the democratic process of choosing their trustees."
The next school board election is scheduled for November 3, 2009. This
date is later than previous elections, which have traditionally been
held the same time as municipal elections in September. The later date
allows for greater engagement of individuals and school communities,
which has proven difficult given that many people are away during the
summer months leading into the election date.
"As election time draws near, it is vital that people make the choice to
get involved by volunteering their time and effort for the betterment of
our communities," said the Honourable Dave Denine, Minister Responsible
for the Volunteer and Non-Profit Sector. "Positions such as school
trustees are essential to the social fabric of the province. The benefit
a person gets from their involvement in the community far outweighs the
number of hours that need to be invested to have a positive impact."
Polling stations will be established in locations that will help ensure
ease of voting in each election zone such as schools and other community
buildings. The elections will be conducted by the school districts with
support from the Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Association (NLSBA)
and Department of Education.
Thomas Kendall, President of the NLSBA stated, "The future of our
families, our communities and our province lies in the hands of the
students in our public education system. By becoming involved with the
direction and governance of this system, we can help ensure the
province's youth have the fundamental skills to grow into productive,
self-fulfilled citizens of tomorrow. On behalf of the four school
districts, I urge everyone interested to consider seeking a nomination,
getting involved in the election, debating the issues and casting a
ballot next November."
The changes outlined will help focus public attention on the trustee
elections and will be supported by a public awareness campaign aimed at
attracting potential candidates, as well as increasing overall
participation. In addition, the campaign will seek to increase the
number of female trustees, as a means to establish greater gender
balance reflective of the overall population.
"I am confident that the changes we are introducing, coupled with the
additional financial support allocated in this year's budget, will
result in a successful trustee election this coming fall," said Minister
King. "I encourage everyone to start thinking now about putting their
name forward for trustee, as a way to promote community involvement and
support our children and youth. I also ask all individuals to mark
November 3 on their calendars and to take note of information that will
be coming forward over the next several months. Voting will be as easy
as a visit to a school or community building. Don't miss the opportunity
to participate and choose the individuals who will make decisions on
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