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School board to proceed with ward review

Livingstone Range School Board approved a process to review the ward system it uses in electing trustees.
At its Jan. 22 meeting, the school board adopted a ward boundary review prepared by the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA), which it will also facilitate.
The process includes meetings with the superintendent and board, external research and consultation, internal consultation, public meetings, and more.
It will look at everything from the boundaries of each ward to the number of trustees per ward.
Livingstone Range chairman Brad Toone said the plan has general timelines, and the cost depends on the number of boundaries.
Toone noted a cost of $11,400 for an eight boundary review done elsewhere.
“It’s quite a process,” trustee John McKee said.
Trustee Lacey Poytress asked if it is necessary to be facilitated or are there other options.
“It has to be external,” trustee Clara Yagos said. “The ASBA’s always the best option for us.”
Yagos noted that means the school division does not have to pay the Alberta School Boards Association for travel, but just for their time.
“It is cost-effective for us to use the ASBA,” Yagos added.
Associate superintendent for business services Jeff Perry explained that internally the school division does not have the knowledge or expertise to do a ward review.
Perry also said having someone external is good because it removes the perception an end result is already determined before the process starts.
Eight reviews were done last year.
“They have the expertise,” Perry said of the ASBA. “They’ll be as efficient as possible.
“Our role would be helping them facilitate it.”
Acting superintendent Darryl Seguin added there has to be a perception that the school division is at arm’s length from the review.
“I think it’s a necessity right now,” Yagos said of the ward review. “We should get it done. It’s been a while since amalgamation.”
The board, in a recorded vote, unanimously approved the ward review process.