Nelson’s teachers’ union is hoping to see more names on next month’s ballot for school trustee.
“Acclamation is not the best way for our trustees to gain their positions,” Kathy Couch of the Nelson District Teachers Association said in a news release.
“We don’t think that it is healthy when voters don’t have a choice. Those elected by acclamation have no obligation to provide the public with any sort of qualifications or explanations of what they believe, in order to be elected.”
In 2008, two-thirds of the board — six of nine trustees — was elected by acclamation.
The only areas that saw races were Nelson, where four people vied for two seats, and the Slocan Valley, where three people ran to replace retiring trustee Penny Tees — after Tees made a concerted effort to find candidates.
Couch says her association wants to see more people involved in the election and information disseminated about their qualifications so voters can make informed decisions. She notes the board of the Kootenay Lake school district is responsible for a budget of over $50 million.
“These are important positions,” she says. “It is important that this money is spent wisely. The successful candidates are charged with insuring the needs of all students are met and that there are equal opportunities for all students to succeed. These nine people are responsible for making permanent and life changing decisions that involve the futures of our young people and indeed of our whole community.”
Among the present board, most incumbents say they are either running for re-election or leaning that way. Salmo Valley trustee Art Field, Kaslo’s Dawn Lang and North Shore trustee Lenora Trenaman have already filed their papers. Chair Mel Joy, who represents Creston, will seek another term. So will Slocan Valley trustee Barb Lindsay, who hopes she will not be unopposed.
“I encourage everyone to run against me,” she says, adding that she would especially like to see some younger people in the mix.
Nelson’s Bill Maslechko said Tuesday evening he’s still debating it, but is leaning towards running again. Fellow Nelson trustee Bob Wright says he’s not sure.
South rural trustees Verna Mayers-Mckenzie and Annette Hambler-Pruden will both be seeking another term. They are challenged by Vladimir Certik and Robert Gollan.
The deadline for nominations is Friday at 4 p.m. Nominations can be picked up at the school district office.
For a complete list of candidates in all the races, click here.