You should be concerned: Trustee Election 2013

With the mayoral race likely being a snoozer this year (87% favorables for the reigning Mayor does that) the media and people engaged in the political process will likely focus on some key council races.

But did you know that there’s an elected board in Calgary that has had acclaimed races and oversees more than $1.2 billion dollars of spending? And that’s just the Calgary Board of Education. (To compare, the City of Calgary’s 2012 consolidated operating budget is $2.7 Billion – and the CBE’s budget is half of this.)

You should be worried about the trustee elections in 2013.

The boards (there are two major ones in Calgary — the Calgary Catholic School District and the Calgary Board of Education) handle a lot of money and oversee one of the largest services in Alberta.

Not only that, with the way that the province has been handling budget parents have been put over a barrel on bus fees (increased 80% over the last 5 years), instituting an $80 fee per student for supervising lunch (which is going to increase by another $80 this fall according to Metro News), and has parents in tears over collection agencies harassing them for some half a million dollars worth of uncollected student fees.

But wait. It does get worse. Such as opening up a new National Sports School for elite athletes at the price tag of $9 million dollars with a very sorry level of governance oversight. As Sheila Taylor (who is a CBE trustee who represents ward 11 and 13) explains on her blog, it’s a project that wasn’t put through a capital plan, any motion available to the public, or something that has had any visible discussion. This is at a time when parents are protesting in freezing cold weather to have a school eventually built in their area at some indeterminate time in the future. This is to the level of the Peace Bridge debacle (by the way, did you know the builders of the Peace Bridge are now asking for more money?).

So you should be worried about the 2013 trustee election and be sure to inform yourself when you get to the voting booth.

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