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Livingstone Range School Board finalizes changes to electoral wards

Livingstone Range School Board forged ahead with changes to electoral boundaries.
The school board voted to shift one trustee from Ward 3 to Ward 1 and align electoral boundaries with school attendance boundaries.
Trustees gave second and third reading June 12 to By-law No. 2019-01 during their meeting at the G.R. Davis Administration Building in Fort Macleod, overriding the objections of trustee Jim Burdett.
Burdett proposed reducing the number of trustees to six, in part as a cost-saving method.
“It really doesn’t change much at the board table,” Burdett said of having one less trustee. “It still takes four votes to pass a motion.”
Burdett also lobbied for more time to present the proposed shift of trustees to parents and school councils.
“I think we need more time to talk to people,” Burdett said.
The school board embarked last fall on an electoral boundary review that included six community engagement sessions, an on-line survey and two independent facilitators.
Livingstone Range came into effect in 1995 with a population of about 28,669 people. Each of the seven trustees served an average of 4,095 people.
In 2017 Livingstone Range had a population of 27,657, with each trustee representing an average of 3,951 people.
At present, Ward 1 trustees serve a population of 10,718 and six town schools along with five schools on Hutterian Brethren colonies.
The Ward 2 trustees serve 6,848 people, four town schools and seven colony schools.
The Ward 3 trustees serve 10,091 people, four town schools and one colony school.
Representation for each trustee is to be plus or minus 25 per cent of the average.
Ideally, each trustee would represent about 4,000 people.
Trustees at their May meeting gave first reading to By-law No. 2019-01, which will come into effect at the next municipal election.
Under the new system Ward 1, which includes the towns of Nanton Stavely, Claresholm and Granum, would get one more trustee, bringing its total to three.
Ward 3, which includes the towns of Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek as well as Waterton, would lose one trustee to have two.
Ward 2, which includes the town of Lundbreck, Bellevue, Coleman and Blairmore, will continue with two trustees.
There was little support for Burdett’s proposal of reducing the number of trustees.
Trustee Lacey Poytress pointed out people showed support for having seven trustees.
Poytress also noted having six trustees creates the possibility of split votes, which will hamper the board’s ability to move forward.
Poytress also noted the change means each trustee will be responsible for two schools, increasing accountability with stakeholders.
Trustee Lori Hodges opposed delaying second and third readings for more consultation.
“We did talk to our parents and we did a lot of work to get to where we are today,” Hodges said.
Trustee Clara Yagos suggested giving the by-law second reading but holding off on third reading until October so more consultation could be done with parents.
Hodges was opposed.
“I think we did our due diligence,” Hodges said. As a board we have to decide what’s best for Livingstone Range. I think we should move forward.”
Chairman Brad Toone also favoured moving forward at Wednesday’s meeting.
“This is an equitable decision giving each trustee two schools to serve,” Toone said.
Added trustee Greg Long: “What more is there to discuss? I’d rather just take the leadership role and vote on it right now.”
A motion to table third reading was defeated.
Third reading passed by a vote of 6-1 with only Burdett opposed.
“We’ve done a lot of good work here and it’s time to move forward,” Poytress said.

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