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Hrynyk bides her time, and other exciting news

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Winnipeg School Division board meetings may become worth covering again this fall and could merit your taking a seat in the public gallery — only just not tonight.

Trustee Suzanne Hrynyk tells me she won’t be tabling her notice of motion until next month on whom trustees can send to stand in for them at school and other events. Her motion involves — you’ll never guess in a million years — trustee Mike Babinsky and his practice of having his children fill in for him if he has multiple events or can’t make it somewhere.

Oh, sugarfudgeheckdarn, you did guess, didn’t you?

Then there are umpteen reports from committees expected on contentious, mainly from finance.

There’s the one about trustees ordering in food for late afternoon and evening sessions courtesy of the taxpayers. There’s another about opening up the $365 million budget process to more than just the one public forum two weeks before the budget deadline when everything's pretty much carved in stone.

Try to calm down, that’s just a fraction of the thrills to come.

There’ll be the been-going-on-like-totally-forever debate over allowing politicians into schools to have access to students. There’s the proposal from community activists to go from three 43,000-vote wards of three seats apiece, to nine wards of one trustee each, one into which Education Minister Nancy Allan might step if the trustees don’t give it genuine consideration.

Then there’s the ongoing pot which Babinsky — and, yes, I — keeps stirring about the lack of detailed public agendas prior to meetings. And, of course, who could forget the ancient practice of automatically giving senior administrators the same percentage raise as trustees negotiate with the teachers?

Most of tonight’s meeting will involve electing the board chair, vice chair, major committee chairs, and reps on a gazillion other committees.

The first significant action could come at the Sept. 23 board meeting. Sure, feel free to camp out now to ensure a good seat.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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