OPINION: Alberta’s students depend on your vote this fall

Knowing your school board trustee candidates means charting the education course for future leaders

Students get on their designated school buses after their first day back to school. KIRSTEN PHILLIPS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Contributed by Lorrie Jess, President of the Alberta School Boards Association


As the new school year approaches, we’re all sure to be facing a variety of emotions as we take a big step back into this new world we’ve found ourselves in. And with this new world, at the top of many of our minds is one question: What’s next?

As Albertans head to the polls on Oct. 18 to cast their votes as part of Alberta’s municipal general elections, I urge you to spend some time reflecting on the events of this past year and consider the future you want for this province’s next generation—our students.

As part of the municipal elections, Albertans will elect their school board trustees in addition to mayors and reeves, municipal councils and senate nominees. You may be familiar with the general role of school board trustees: they advocate for students, schools and community members; they allocate resources; they approve policies; and, they are the local voices that represent public, catholic and francophone schools in every urban, metro and rural community.

However, the value of this local governance role cannot be overstated.

Whether you or someone you care about has children or grandchildren in the school system, or are thinking about having children one day, as an eligible voter in Alberta, you will have an impact on our education system simply by casting your vote on election day.

Tomorrow’s leaders learning today

With more than 733,000 students enrolled in Kindergarten to Grade 12 across Alberta, that is nearly three-quarters-of-a-million young people who are well on their way to becoming tomorrow’s leaders in all areas of life. It is essential that these students have the resources, support and opportunities to succeed. Because a strong education system builds a stronger province for us all.

When school board trustees connect with local parents, teachers and community members at sessions or events, their input shapes local decision making. When trustees allocate budget dollars, they are ensuring our students have the equipment and resources to develop relevant and essential skills. The policies set by trustees ensure our schools are safe, supportive and caring environments for all students, in communities big and small.

While I can’t say for certain how this school year will unfold, I can assure you that Alberta’s locally-elected school board trustees will continue to place student safety and success at the forefront of every decision.

As president of the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA), I want to remind all eligible voters in Alberta that you have the great privilege of impacting the quality of education for students across the province.

These democratically elected trustees will be your representatives and advocates for the next four years. Support local voices for local choices by voting for your community’s public, catholic or Francophone school board trustees on Oct.18, 2021.

  • Lorrie Jess is President of Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) and has served as a school board trustee for the past 17 years. As the provincial association, ASBA serves Alberta’s 61 locally-elected public, separate and francophone school boards.

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