With a municipal election on the way, signs bearing the names of candidates for Regional Council have flooded the city. But there are other names on the upcoming ballot that you may not have heard as much about.
On October 15, voters will also be selecting representatives for the Halifax Regional School Board and the Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial. If they do vote, that is.
“Sometimes people don’t bother voting because they don’t really understand what the role of the governing school board is,” says HRSB’s communications manager, Trish Smith.
It’s worth paying attention to, though. With a budget of over $400 million, Smith says the school board makes big decisions. To help you find out who’s in the running to make those decisions in your district, we’ve gathered up some info on the school board races happening across HRM.
District 1: Eastern Shore-Fall River
In District 1, Bridget Ann Boutilier is hoping for re-election. Boutilier has served on the board since 2004. Kent Smith, the former owner of Eastern Shore Cartage, a business that provides services like garbage removal, is also in the race. Steve Brine is going back after the seat he held starting in 2008 and lost in 2012. Newcomer Elizabeth Lively is also in the running. Lively has worked for more than ten years as a researcher, and her most recent assignment involved adaptive learning strategies. Morton Simmonds, the province’s first African Nova Scotian correctional officer, is also on the ballot. Simmonds pushed for the Morton Simmonds Educational Scholarship which covers the tuition and book costs for African Nova Scotian and First Nations students enrolling in the Correctional Workers' Program at the Nova Scotia Community College.
District 2: Dartmouth South–Eastern Passage–Cole Harbour–Westphal
Incumbent Nancy Jakeman is running to keep her seat against Tim Henman. Henman has been a member and board member of a number of community, athletic and youth groups. He also served as a vice president for the Shearwater Skating Club.
District 3: Dartmouth Centre–Harbourview–Burnside–Dartmouth East
Gin Yee is unopposed and wins another term by acclamation.
District 4: Peninsula South–Peninsula West–Armdale
As the only candidate, incumbent Cindy Littlefair wins by acclamation.
District 5: Peninsula North/Fairview
Christy Linders is hoping to be re-elected with the promise to continue working to make the school board work better for students. Linders helped to form a committee to research the Auditor General’s report on governance, and says the final report will be ready for the incoming school board to take action on. But Suzy Hansen is hoping to take the district from Linders. Hansen says she felt she had to run when she didn’t see any candidates from the north end on the ballot.
District 6: Clayton Park West–Beechville/Lakeside/Timberlea–Spryfield
In District 6, Laura Claridge, a volunteer with the Harrietsfield Elementary Home and School Commitee, is competing for the seat against Charlene Tasco, who says education has been a passion of hers for years while she’s worked as a career practitioner. With experience as a university instructor, candidate Karen Saweczko wants to ensure equality for every student regardless of school or background. The final candidate in the district, Linda MacKay, has worked for the Auditor General of Nova Scotia and as a financial analyst/accountant at Emera.
District 7: South Shore Bedford
Public relations-marketing consultant Steve Warburton is looking to be re-elected. Warburton also served as the vice chair of the board. His competition, Jennifer Raven has been vocal on Twitter throughout the election on issues such as food security in schools. Raven says she will stand with small schools and all schools.
District 8: Lower Sackville/Upper Sackville
Dave Wright is running unopposed in District 8 and wins by acclamation.
African Nova Scotian Member
Retired teacher and former chair of the school board Melinda Daye is competing in a three-way race to get back her seat as African Nova Scotian representative. Her competition includes Archy Beals, an educator with over 25 years of experience. Beals says he has worked in both the secondary and post-secondary school system establishing culturally specific programs for African Canadian learners. Also running for the seat is Marcus James, an employee at the North Memorial library for the past 22 years. James is also the co-chair of the North End Community Circle, which focuses on bringing community partners together.
Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial
Four candidates are competing for the three available chairs on the province’s French school board. Two incumbent candidates, Lucien Comeau and André Surette are looking to be re-elected. Comeua has experience as an evaluator for Health Canada, while Surette has over 12 years of experience as a school board member. Patrice Deschenes, a naval officer and instructor at the Naval Fleet School in Halifax, is also in the race. The fourth candidate, Marthe Craig, has 21 years of teaching experience. During her career, Craig has worked on developing and evaluating programs in mathematics, science, social studies and French.