Has the Winnipeg School Division's board ever seen such potential for epochal change?

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This article was published 18/9/2014 (2463 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Has the Winnipeg School Division's board ever seen such potential for epochal change?

Only three incumbents are running for re-election on a board that oversees 18.3 per cent of Manitoba's public school students and whose budget could be in the $375-million range this year.

Two trustees are running for city council, and another four are retiring.

Combine that with switching from three three-seat wards to nine single-seat wards, and the division has doubled the candidates running this time, to 30 contenders from 15 in 2010.

All the city school boards could be in for major changes after the Oct. 22 election -- not in recent memory have so many incumbent trustees failed to stand for re-election.

Across the city, there are 112 candidates registered for the 52 urban seats in the six main city divisions.

The full list is available here.

Additionally, there are two candidates for the West St. Paul seat in Seven Oaks and four contenders for the East St. Paul seat in River East Transcona.

Two other Winnipeg residents and veteran trustees, Wendy Bloomfield and Greg Reid, are among the four candidates for three seats in Ward 1 of Seine River, a rural division that includes St. Norbert.

And five candidates are vying for the four urban seats in the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine, which goes to the polls Oct. 15.

All told, that means 127 people are pursuing 61 school board seats available to Winnipeg residents -- and, unlike 2010 when six city seats were acclaimed, and unlike the rest of the province this election, where 61.1 per cent of the seats are acclamations or still vacant, every Winnipeg seat faces a contested race this time.

But while more women than men are running for school boards across Manitoba, the genders are fairly even across the city, except in the male-heavy Winnipeg school board races.

Only 35 incumbents are seeking re-election across the city, the largest contingent of retirements of veterans in recent memory.

Not running for re-election as a school trustee are incumbents Wayne Ruff and Gary Gervais, Louis Riel; Gail Watson, Sue Clayton and Jacquie Field in Pembina Trails; Robert Fraser, George Marshall, and Greg Proch (the East St. Paul seat), River East Transcona; Bill McGowan, Seven Oaks; Bryan Metcalfe, St. James-Assiniboia; and Suzanne Hrynyk, Anthony Ramos, Kristine Barr, Darlyne Bautista, Jackie Sneesby and Rita Hildahl, Winnipeg.

Two seats are also vacant because of the deaths earlier this year of trustees Ric de la Cruz in Seven Oaks and Shirley Timm-Rudolph in River East Transcona.

The 2010 school board elections drew only 96 candidates in Winnipeg, the fewest since the 2002 amalgamations of school divisions, and there were six acclamations in Louis Riel and Seven Oaks.

 

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca