Board chair headed for defeat

In a surprise turn of events, it looked like board chair of the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division board would lose her seat.

In a surprise turn of events, it looked like board chair of the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division board would lose her seat.

Christine Moore, who has served as board chair of the Catholic division since 2007, had 1,726 votes at press time. Not all the results were in. It appears that the Catholic board will have three new candidates serving within the seven trustees seats for the regional board.

Leading the pack of Red Deer trustees for five city seats was incumbent Adriana LaGrange, with 1,983 votes, followed by first-time candidate Guy Pelletier, with 1,910, new candidate Anne Marie Watson, with 1,7941 votes, incumbent Elaine Halter, with 1,807 votes, and new candidate David Bouchard, with 1,765 votes.

It appeared that incumbents Moore, with 1,726, and Duane Rolheiser, with 1,537, would not be re-elected.

Incumbent Diane MacKay, 53, will serve a second term on the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division board for the areas of Innisfail, Bowden, Olds, Didsbury, after winning her seat over challenger Tanya Schaber. MacKay had 173 votes and Schaber had 61 at press time.

Liam McNiff, 64, a retired teacher from Sylvan Lake, will return as a Catholic trustee after being acclaimed in the ward for Rocky Mountain House, Caroline, Eckville and Sylvan Lake. The seat was previously held by Stephen Taylor, who chose not to run in this election.

LaGrange, 49, a rehabilitative practitioner who farms full-time, said she appreciated everyone’s support. Shortly before the polls were completely counted, she saw where Moore sat and was surprised that she wasn’t in the top five. LaGrange said Moore did a fabulous job as trustee and chair.

LaGrange said with all of the new faces they will have to do orientation for the new trustees and it will take a little while for the board to jell, but she said there is lots of work to do, with a new school facility underway in Olds and facilities within Red Deer bursting at the seams.

First-time candidate Guy Pelletier, 44, was one of around 100 people at the Snell Auditorium watching as the polling numbers came in on Monday night. He said the election had been friendly.

“It has been smooth for us. The trustees have been a little bit more low key compared to the councillors,” Pelletier said. “A lot of it has just been one-on-one stuff. For me it has gone smoothly,” Pelletier said.

Pelletier, who is the vice-president of Melcor Developments Ltd. and has served on the Red Deer College board of governors, said as with any publicly funded organization, space for students has been an issue. But he said high school completion will also be something the board needs to look into once they meet.

It was the third run by Anne Marie Watson, 42, for a seat on the Catholic school division board. She ran in 2007 and in the byelection two years ago, losing to Duane Rolheiser during the byelection. But on Monday night, the tables turned and Watson won a spot on the board.

She watched the polling numbers from home. She said she felt really positive about the election this time around.

“Three years ago, not one voter phoned me at home or emailed me,” Watson said. “And this time I think I’ve had a dozen phone calls and probably half a dozen emails so there is a lot more interest and people saying they are researching some candidates and wanting to research a certain issue. So that has been really positive.”

Watson said the new board will have to keep a close eye on the opening of the School Act and what that means for school boards in Alberta and also the teacher labour agreement, which will come to an end over the next three years.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

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