CBE school trustee announces intent to run for UCP
A Calgary school trustee who has just begun her first term in the position says the Calgary Board of Education is preventing her from doing her job, so she is tossing her hat into the ring for a provincial seat instead.
On Thursday, Lisa Davis, the trustee for Calgary-Bow, announced her intent to seek the nomination for the UCP candidate in her riding in the next general election.
She says she has support for her venture, particularly because the people in her riding say the CBE is ineffective when it comes to making decisions in education.
“We’re governors of 122,000 students and 14,000 staff and it’s really important that decisions we make are based upon well-rounded information that’s presented to us in a timely manner. When you look at some of the motions that I’ve brought forward, those motions have been voted down. So it’s very difficult for me to make good decisions around things like the budget and evaluating our policies without that kind of information.”
Davis says that if she is elected MLA, she could utilize the clout of the provincial government to get the answers her constituents are looking for.
“When you take a look at the provincial government in terms of the authority it has, and in terms of the resources it can bring to bear, when you start to look at some of the really important things that are critical for our student’s success, they’re the ones who have the most influence.”
The other members of the CBE, who also just heard of Davis’ intent to run for provincial office, were surprised by some of the comments that she made, particularly about a lack of access to information.
“The board of trustees has always strived to give trustees the information that they need so that they are fully aware of operational issues and things going on within our system. Trustees have frequently received information outside of board meetings,” said Trina Hurdman, chair of the CBE.
Hurdman says that it is Davis’ decision to run for office and she has no concerns at all, as long as those efforts don’t affect her ability to do her job as trustee.
“We would anticipate that any trustee that wishes to seek another office, they must always remember that they are a trustee first and that their first and primary responsibility is to the Calgary Board of Education and to students.”
As for the differences between the authority of the provincial government versus the CBE, Hurdman says they are simply different government bodies.
“The provincial government has different responsibilities than local school boards. They’re just different, it’s not more or less, it’s different. Provincial responsibilities include the total amount of money for a budget but how that money is spent is a local decision. The province would decide on the curriculum, but how that curriculum is taught is a local decision.”
Meanwhile, some critics say that Davis hasn’t been in office long enough to consider the jump to the Alberta legislature. She says that there is urgency among her constituents to see change, and she wants to make it happen.
“They don’t think the process as it plays out over the next couple of years is in the best interest of students. There is a deep belief that we simply can’t wait and it’s time to start addressing these issues.”
Davis has only been at her post on the CBE for eight months and says that if she doesn’t acquire the UCP nomination, she’ll serve the rest of her four-year term on the board.
(With files from Chris Epp)