Excellence in education through exceptional school board governance

Trustee Election FAQ

When is election day this year?

This year, Alberta municipal and school board trustee elections will be held on Monday, October 16, 2017.


When is nomination day?

As per section 25 of the Local Authorities Election Act, nomination day is to be held four weeks before election day. This year, Monday, September 18, 2017 is nomination day in Alberta; however, there may be local exceptions. You are responsible for verifying the date and time for nominations with your local school division.


How do I know if I’m eligible to run for school board trustee?

Regardless of the school division or regional authority you want to represent, there are some basic requirements you must meet. You must:

  • be at least 18 years old;
  • be a Canadian citizen;
  • have lived in Alberta for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding nomination day, and you live within the boundaries of the jurisdiction in which you wish to run.

I want to run for public school board trustee. Are there any additional eligibility requirements I must meet?

In public school jurisdictions, you must:

  • be eligible to vote in the election;
  • have lived in the local jurisdiction and the ward, if any, for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding nomination day*

I want to run for separate school board trustee. Are there any additional eligibility requirements I must meet?

In separate school jurisdictions, you must:

  • be eligible to vote in the election;
  • be of the same faith as those you want to represent on the separate school board;
  • have lived in the local jurisdiction and the ward, if any, for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding nomination day.*

I want to run for francophone school board trustee. Are there any additional eligibility requirements I must meet?

In francophone school jurisdictions, you must:

  • be at least 18;
  • be a Canadian citizen;
  • have lived in Alberta for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding nomination day;
  • comply with the faith requirements set out under section 256(3.1) of the School Act.
* Regardless of this requirement, a candidate for trustee of a board of a school district that is wholly or partly within the boundaries of a city is not required to be a resident of the ward but must be a resident of the school district.

Are there any restrictions on who can run for school board trustee?

You are not eligible to run if, on nomination day, you:

  • are an employee of any school district, school division, charter school or private school as of nomination day – unless you take an unpaid leave of absence to run before the last working day prior to nomination day;
  • are an auditor of the jurisdiction in which you want to be a candidate;
  • do not meet the residency requirement for the jurisdiction in which you want to run;
  • are otherwise ineligible or disqualified as outlined under section 22 of the Local Authorities Election Act.

See sections 22, 23 and 24 of the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) for more details. The most current version of the LAEA is posted online on the Alberta Queen’s Printer here.


I know trustees cannot participate in making decisions where their economic self-interest could be in conflict with their public duty. Where can I find more information on conflict of interest issues as they relate to school board trustees?

Sections 80 to 91 of the School Act contain more information on conflict of interest matters, including:

  • the types of pecuniary interest;
  • the steps a trustee who is in conflict must follow;
  • the disqualification of a trustee;
  • the consequence of refusing to resign upon being disqualified as required under the School Act.

The economic or pecuniary interest of a trustee’s spouse or adult interdependent partner is deemed to be the economic interest of the trustee. The most current version of the School Act is posted online on the Alberta Queen’s Printer here.


Who is eligible to vote?

You are eligible to vote in a public or separate school division or district election if, on election day, you:

  • are at least 18 years old;
  • are a Canadian citizen;
  • have lived in Alberta for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding election day;
  • live within the boundaries of the local jurisdiction on election day.

You are eligible to vote in a francophone regional authority if, on election day, you:

  • are at least 18 years old;
  • are a Canadian citizen;
  • are Francophone;
  • have lived in Alberta for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding election day;
  • have a child enrolled in a school operated by the francophone regional authority.
*A person who is eligible to vote in an election for a board other than a Regional authority and in an election for a Regional authority may exercise the right to vote in both elections.

When do school board candidates file their nomination papers?

Typically, the returning officer for each local school jurisdiction receives nominations from prospective candidates between 10 a.m. and noon on nomination day. Generally across Alberta this year, nomination day is Monday, September 18, 2017.


How many signatures do I need?

This requirement varies, depending on the school jurisdiction. Your local school board office can advise you on how many qualified signatures are required from eligible electors. To be on the safe side, it’s recommended that you collect 20 per cent more signatures than are required, to ensure you have a sufficient number of eligible electors on your nomination forms when you submit your candidacy on nomination day.


Who can sign my nomination papers?

Each person who signs a candidate’s nomination papers must be eligible to vote in the election for the office for which the candidate is running. They must be residents of the local jurisdiction on the day they sign the nomination form. Where there are wards, only electors who are residents of the ward for which a candidate is being nominated may sign the nomination form.


What do school board trustees do?

School board trustees are local politicians elected by and accountable to the community they serve. The provincial government delegates to school boards the responsibility for conducting the affairs of the school jurisdiction. School boards have numerous responsibilities, including but by no means limited to:

  • setting school division goals that ensure students have the knowledge and skills that enable them to be better prepared for life;
  • planning school division priorities based on provincial curriculum requirements, community input, available resources and best practices in education;
  • developing and implementing an annual budget for the school division based on curriculum requirements and strategic priorities.

To find out more about the exciting and important work of a school board trustee, be sure to check out the So You Want to Become a School Board Trustee? presentation which will be posted shortly on the ASBA website.


How significant is the work of school board trustees in Alberta?

Alberta has 61 public, Catholic and francophone school boards with a total of more than 400 trustees. These locally-elected officials make important decisions about how to educate close to 600,000 students from kindergarten to Grade 12. School boards guide the expenditure of $6 billion in provincial tax dollars.


How do I know if I have what it takes to be a successful school board trustee?

Ask yourself this: are you prepared to put your community and students first? If you answered “yes” and you’re willing to learn and work with other like-minded people in your community, you are well on your way. You don’t need to be an expert in education – you just need to do your homework and serve your community and the students you represent.


What kind of training do new school board trustees get to help them be successful in their roles?

There is a wealth of training and professional development available to new school board trustees. ASBA provides new trustee orientation and online resource materials as well as professional development at spring and fall general meetings. Individual school boards may also provide their own training and professional development. Your local school board office can give you more information on this subject.

 

Have a question you don’t see listed here? Check with your local school board or contact us through the “Connect with the ASBA” information below. This page will be updated throughout the 2017 election period as we receive new questions.

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