What do school board trustees do?
School board trustees are local politicians elected by and accountable to the community they serve. The provincial government delegates to school boards the responsibility for conducting the affairs of the school jurisdiction. The school board has many responsibilities, including:
- setting school division goals that ensure students have the knowledge and skills that enable them to be better prepared for life;
- planning school division priorities based on provincial curriculum requirements, community input, available resources and best practices in education;
- developing and implementing an annual budget for the school division based on curriculum requirements and strategic priorities;
- developing policies to guide school division administration and employees toward division goals;
- ensuring residents of the school division are regularly informed about the work and achievements of the school division;
- advocating on behalf of the school community to decision-makers and stakeholders on important issues that affect education, and to ensure education is a top public priority;
- ensuring regular opportunities for public input and access;
- evaluating the school division’s chief executive officer – the superintendent of schools.
Do I have what it takes to be a successful school board trustee?
Successful school board trustees put the needs of students first. They run for office because they passionately believe a quality education is one of the most important things a community can do to ensure students have the knowledge and skills that enable them to be better prepared for life.
You don’t need to be an expert in education. The school board trustee does not serve as a professional educator or as the spokesperson for a particular interest group or region. The ideal school board includes people from all aspects of life and is as representative as possible of the community it serves.
Am I eligible to run for school board trustee?
Regardless of the school division or regional authority you want to represent, there are some basic requirements you must meet. You must:
- be at least 18 years old;
- be a Canadian citizen;
- be eligible to vote in the election;
- have lived in Alberta for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding nomination day, and you live within the boundaries of the jurisdiction in which you wish to run.
Who is not eligible to run for school board trustee?
You are not eligible to run if, on nomination day, you:
- are an employee of any school district, school division, charter school or private school as of nomination day – unless you take an unpaid leave of absence to run before the last working day prior to nomination day;
- are an auditor of the jurisdiction in which you want to be a candidate;
- do not meet the residency requirement for the jurisdiction in which you want to run;
- are otherwise ineligible or disqualified as outlined under section 22 of the Local Authorities Election Act.
See sections 22, 23 and 24 of the Local Authorities Election Act for more details. The most current version of the LAEA is posted online on the Alberta Queen's Printer.
Who is eligible to vote?
You are eligible to vote in a public school division election if, on election day, you:
- are at least 18 years old;
- are a Canadian citizen;
- have lived in Alberta for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding election day;
- live within the boundaries of the local jurisdiction on election day.
Conflict of interest
Trustees may not participate in making decisions in which their economic self-interest may be in conflict with their public duty. The economic or pecuniary interest of a trustee’s spouse or adult interdependent partner is deemed to be the economic interest of the trustee. See sections 80 to 91 of the School Act for more information on:
- the types of pecuniary interest;
- the steps a trustee who is in conflict must follow;
- the disqualification of a trustee;
- the consequence of refusing to resign upon being disqualified as required under the School Act.
See the School Act for more details. The most current version is posted online on the Alberta Queen's Printer.