Winnipeg School Division trustees will discuss holding a byelection to replace two of its trustees who were elected to the legislature this week.
Lisa Naylor, a representative of Ward 4, and Mark Wasyliw, the Ward 3 representative, were both elected as NDP MLAs in Wolseley and Fort Garry, respectively.
Board chairman Chris Broughton said the remaining seven trustees will hold their first meeting of the school year on Monday at 7 p.m. They will elect a new vice-chair from the existing board, but will still be two bodies short.
"There is the ability to appoint to the board, but most likely, we would hold a byelection to fill those positions," Broughton said. "But that’s something that as a board we will decide on Monday night, or at least start the discussions."
Under the Public Schools Act, an election to replace a board vacancy must happen "as soon as reasonably practicable."
Although an extensive K-12 education review is underway and could shake up the school board system considerably, Broughton said it wouldn't be reasonable to wait to fill the vacancies.
"The Public Schools Act doesn’t say, ‘In the event of government considering amalgamation, you should withhold having an election.’ We don’t know what the government’s going to do and the review hasn’t been completed yet," Broughton said.
The K-12 commission results are expected in March.
"There’s work to be done in the Winnipeg School Division," Broughton continued. "So we definitely are going to feel the loss of two experienced trustees on the board and we’ll be looking to resolve that loss as soon as we can and as soon as is reasonable."
City of Winnipeg officials told the Free Press in 2015 that a stand-alone byelection could cost as much as $6 per voter to administer, which could work out to about $100,000 per ward. The city couldn't immediately respond Thursday to a request for a cost estimate if WSD were to have a byelection for two trustee seats.
– Jessica Botelho-Urbanski