Claresholm area to receive one more school board trustee

By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
With population changing across the Livingstone Range School Division, the board of trustees has voted to add one more trustee to the ward that includes Claresholm, Stavely, Granum, Nanton and the surrounding portion of the Municipal District of Willow Creek, bringing the number of trustees to three.
The school division made the announcement on April 16, after undertaking a thorough review process.
In addition to Ward 1 receiving an additional trustee, Ward 3 which includes Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek, was reduced from three trustees to two and Ward 2, which includes Crowsnest Pass and Lundbreck remains at two trustees.
According to information from the school division, these current boundaries and assignments were created in 2007 to align with school attendance. As the demographics of the division have changed, it became apparent that reviewing the current boundaries might be necessary.
Consequently, at a school board meeting on Jan. 22, 2018, the board approved the electoral ward boundary review proposal prepared by the Alberta School Board Association (ASBA).
A consultant was hired in January 2018 to facilitate the review process and provide a final report to the board. The board considered five options for electoral ward boundaries:
1) Retain the status quo, with three wards and seven trustees;
2) Add one or more trustees;
3) Reduce the number of trustees;
4) Include one trustee per ward, that is seven wards per seven trustees;
5) In any of the above, more closely align ward boundaries with school attendance boundaries.
In the fall of 2018, public consultation meetings were held in six communities: Lundbreck; Pincher Creek; Fort Macleod; Nanton; Crowsnest Pass; and Claresholm. Survey questions were asked and an online survey was available on the division and school websites for those who could not attend the public meetings.
In December 2018, the consultant submitted his final report to the board. Following review of the report, the board determined additional help was required to facilitate the decision-making process on any electoral ward boundary changes.
In March 2019 the board engaged an external facilitator to assist in choosing the best option for any changes. During nearly two full days of discussion and dialogue, the board carefully considered all original options as well as new options influenced by suggestions from stakeholders.
At the April 10, 2019 meeting, the school board decided to make minor adjustments to align electoral boundaries with school attendance boundaries and to allocate the number of trustees as follows, beginning with the fall election of 2021:
● Ward 1 – three trustees, a change from two;
● Ward 2 – two trustees, remains the same;
● Ward 3 – two trustees, a change from three.
The decision is still subject to ministerial approval.