September means a new school year and lots of exciting new beginnings for students, teachers and staff. As this year is a municipal election year, it also means new beginnings for the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) Board of Trustees. As trustees are elected officials, some of whom are retiring, while others are running again, there will be a new board in the fall.
The deadline to file nomination papers, which will confirm a candidate’s intention to run as a local school board trustee, is Monday, September 18, 2017. The municipal election takes place on Monday, October 16, 2017 and will determine the mayor, city councilors and school board trustees for Calgary, as well as all municipalities in Alberta including the City of Airdrie, City of Chestermere and Town of Cochrane, also served by the CCSD.
Alberta school boards help shape the future of local communities by governing the education of students enrolled in kindergarten through Grade 12. The provincial government, through the Minister of Education, grants school boards the authority to make decisions regarding the direction and quality of local public education. Accountability to the public is entrenched through the election of local school board trustees every four years.
To be a Catholic school trustee represents a dual challenge: trustees must ensure that students are provided the very best educational opportunities, while at the same time ensuring that Catholic principles and values are reflected in policies and practices of the school board, thus establishing an education system that is permeated by faith. In practice, this plays out in trustees being accountable to both government legislation, as well as Canon Law (Church Law).
The success of Catholic schools depends on everyone in the faith community. While some are called to run as candidates for trustee, others are called to be supporters of Catholic education. Whether it is in the classroom, home or parish, every member of the faith community has a responsibility to ensure the vibrancy of our Catholic schools today and far into the future. An election is an opportune time for the community to have its say in Catholic education.