It was not a decision Livingstone Range School Board wanted to make, but they have been forced by law to disqualify one of their trustees.
At its Oct. 25 meeting, the board passed a motion disqualifying trustee Jim Burdett of Subdivision 3 because he no longer lives in the jurisdiction.
The board also decided to hold a by-election in February.
According to the School Act, a trustee cannot miss three consecutive board meetings with no excuse.
“As of today, we have a vacant seat on the board,” school board chairman Dick Peterson said.
The board then passed a motion disqualifying Burdett.
Discussion turned to the next step.
The board was presented with two options: replace the trustee through a by-election; or leave the seat vacant until the next trustee election in 2013.
Trustee Charlene Dunlop said, because there are two years left in the term, the vacancy better be filled.
Dunlop noted the other two trustees in Subdivision 3 will be stretched to capacity if there is no third trustee.
“Having an extra perspective on the board is always helpful,” said trustee Martha Ratcliffe, who is one of those other two trustees in Subdivision 3.
Ratcliffe also suggested tying the by-election to an upcoming provincial election.
Livingstone Range associate superintendent of business services Don Olsen explained trustee elections usually coincide with municipal elections and the division contracts election services from municipalities.
Trustee Kelly Hall, who was elected in a by-election in 1997, said constituents need that other person to represent their views.
With Burdett gone, Hall said, all trustees have also already taken on an extra role on board committees.
Ratcliffe again asked about tying the by-election to a provincial election.
Hall responded no one knows when a provincial election will be, and the school division has to set its own timeline.
“I’d rather do it Livingstone Range’s way,” she said, and the board has to do what’s best for students.
The board then agreed to set nomination day for Jan. 16 and the election four weeks later on Feb. 13.