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WSD election already down two incumbent trustees

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There will be at least six school board seats in the city in the Oct. 22 election with no incumbent running.

I see that Anthony Ramos is running for city council in the Point Douglas ward. Ramos didn’t respond to my email today, but his candidate information posted online has the same personal email and cell phone number as Winnipeg School Division trustee Ramos.

Incumbency is pretty powerful — you really have to mess up to get knocked off, such as upsetting a voting bloc around a particular decision — and it will be more so in this election, when WSD goes from three wards of three seats apiece and 43,000-or-so voters each, to nine single-seat wards.

Board chair Suzanne Hrynyk has already announced plans to run for council in the Old Kildonan ward.

What will also be interesting to watch is who runs where — candidates need only live in the division, not necessarily in the ward whose seat they seek, and I’m reckoning incumbents won’t want to go up against each other.

Meanwhile, St. James-Assiniboia school trustee Bryan Metcalfe is running for city council in the St. James-Brooklands ward.

I’ve only talked to Metcalfe once since the 2010 election, and that was immediately after the election, when I called around the trustees to see what the possible impact would be of the SJA’s board having only three of nine seats held by imcumbents, the result of a slew of retirements and defeated incumbents.

Metcalfe, a former newspaper executive, gave me an interview, which I summarized briefly in my subsequent story. But at the end of our interview, he told me I would have to submit my story to him for approval prior to publication.

Here’s what I reported Nov. 4, 2010: "Metcalfe said that taxes, declining enrolment and the moratorium on school closures would all be issues. However, when told that the article would not be submitted to him for approval before publication, Metcalfe said that he did not want to be quoted on anything except that he is excited to be on the board."

That’s the last time he’s had his name in our paper.

Aldo, Bartley, Dan, Mary Agnes, all you CBC types and other city hall media, heads up, it will be interesting to see if Metcalfe tries that same thing this time around.

My colleague Jessica Botelho-Urbanski recently reported that veteran trustee and former principal Wayne Ruff is retiring from Louis Riel school board.

And, sadly, two deaths of trustees in the last while, Ric de la Cruz in Seven Oaks and Shirley Timm-Rudolph in River East Transcona.

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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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