The Red Deer Public School District made up of seven trustees will include many familiar faces and a few newer ones.
At press time not all of the votes were in, but the top number of votes appeared to go to current board chair Bill Stuebing, who received 5,945 votes and will be serving his sixth term on the public school board. He was followed closely by incumbent Bev Manning, with 5,523 votes, who will also be serving her sixth term on the board.
Incumbent Dianne Macaulay had 4,285 votes, incumbent Lawrence Lee had 4,194 votes and new candidate Bill Christie received 4,087 votes. Former trustee Dick Lemke received 3,652 votes and incumbent Cathy Peacocke had 3,444 votes.
It appeared in that many of the new candidates would be shut out, including Lisa Johnston with 3,293, Lianne Kruger with 3,096, Kaliana Johnston with 2,860 and Matt Chapin with 2,224.
With the polls nearly closed, Stuebing dropped by the Snell Auditorium, where around 100 people had gathered. He said it felt good to see how the numbers were looking and he felt like it was a vote of confidence for what the board had been focusing on.
But he said they will face significant issues in the next three years.
“We’re living in interesting times,” Stuebing said. He said Red Deer Public must deal with uncertain and inconsistent funding, the difficulty of accommodating students in the southeast part of Red Deer and a new Education Act. He said it is important to him that the education system does not become more centralized.
Manning, 53, spent the evening at her daughter’s home watching as the poll numbers came in. The graphic designer was concerned about how the election went.
“I was a little bit disappointed with the general interest,” Manning said. “It seems like there was a lot of interest in the city council and not so much interest in the school board. I was encouraged by the interest in the city council, but I wish some of it had have overflowed into the school board elections,” she said.
Manning said one of the biggest issues in coming years will be accommodating all of the students in the southeast and it will take consultation and collaboration with the community to come up with solutions.
Dianne Macaulay, 42, hobbled into the Snell Auditorium on crutches as the result of a soccer injury on Monday night. It will be Macaulay’s third term on the board and she pointed to accommodating space for students in the southeast and seeing what the opening of the School Act will mean for boards as two of the top issues.
For Macaulay, keeping communication open between the public and the board and being open to what the public feels the board needs to do will be important.
It’s also the third term for Lee, 46. He said he is hopeful the provincial government will be more willing to listen to key stakeholders in communities in Alberta.
“I really believe that local autonomy needs to be rekindled and strengthened,” Lee said. He said it is important that decisions are made close to where people have to live with those decisions.
Christie comes to Red Deer Public with 25 years of experience as a trustee in British Columbia. Christie, 63, said having locally elected school boards will continue to be an issue.
Lemke will serve for a second time as a public school trustee in Red Deer. The semi-retired teacher, who owns the marketing business Jaguar Jackets, lost his spot in the last election but won it back during this one.
Incumbent Peacocke was looking forward to a second term on the board, with the chance to focus on student achievement, high school completion rates and community engagement.