On Wednesday, April 22, the Lloydminster Public School Division (LPSD) will fill its open Trustee position in a byelection. The post has been vacant since the end of January, when Colleen Young resigned after she became an MLA for the Saskatchewan Party, also via byelection.
Polling stations will be open at Barr Colony School between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on April 22, while advanced voting will take place on April 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the front lobby of city hall. The successful candidate’s term will run until October 2016.
With just under three weeks before the vote, The Source caught up with each of the three candidates.
Cheryl Ross may not be a current LPSD mom, but that doesn’t mean she lacks experience in the system.
“I sat on the board 12 years and pretty much had a perfect attendance record,” she said. “It’s something that I’m very passionate about.”
Ross attributed the one local meeting she missed in her dozen years on the board to a school division conference she was attending. Ross served as a trustee for the LPSD as recently as 2012. After leaving the board in October 2012, she wants back into the game.
“I firmly believe that I have the time and I’m very flexible in my day-to-day living,” she said.
Ross, a homemaker, had four kids graduate through the LPSD system and as trustee, she wants “to continue to ensure personal excellence for all students.”
“I’m very diverse in my thinking,” she said. “And I advocate for all people.”
With little time for campaigning between the March 18 nomination day and April 22 election day, Ross says she’s relying primarily on word-of-mouth to get her message out. She’s also taken to social media, where voters can view her “Cheryl Ross - Candidate” page on Facebook.
Unlike Ross, whose kids have graduated from the LPSD, Chrissy Davison is preparing for her three-year-old daughter, the eldest of her two children, to enter the LPSD system.
Although she’s now a stay-at-home mom, Davison spent two years teaching at Lloydminster Comprehensive High School. A hairstylist by trade, Davison taught the high school’s cosmetology program, which she says was one aspect of her passion for working in a student-oriented atmosphere.
“I’ve always kind of had a passion for children and their environment and how important it is to create good kids for our society,” she said.
For Davison, the trustee position marks an opportunity for her to become more directly involved with the future educations of her children, and others’ children.
“My biggest goal is to understand why certain decisions get made, and know where it’s coming from,” she said. “I think as parents, we need to get more involved and proactive and I think sometimes decisions get made for our kids without us even necessarily having a say.
“I think for me it’s more about understanding where those things are coming from, just so I can be able to say I actually know and I understand and if I agree or don’t agree, and I can take forward some other people’s thoughts as well to a division level and even a provincial level.”
Davison was born and raised in Lloydminster and grew up in the LPSD system. She says that after several experiences involving children, which also includes nearly a decade of volunteer work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lloydminster, she’s ready to take on a new challenge.
“I’ve had a few different aspects of working with children and this is just something new and different that I’m interested in exploring.”
Retirement has its perks, and for Walter Hardy, it includes having the time to run for LPSD trustee and commit to the job.
“I really enjoyed the school division experiences that I’ve had in the past and this is a way to continue to be involved with the school division,” he said
Hardy, a retired accountant, served as the LPSD’s chief financial officer for 25 years. Although he says he doesn’t have a set of specific issues he’d like to address as trustee, he would like to help foster a better relationship between Lloydminster’s public and catholic school divisions.
“I really like the idea of cooperating more with the Catholic school division. I was glad to see that they made a joint application for an elementary school and I think there may be more opportunities to co-operate with the (Catholic) school division.”
Hardy describes himself as “fiscally conservative” and “interested in the success of all students.”
As an Edmonton native that moved to Lloydminster in 1985, Hardy didn’t grow up in the LPSD, but says his son and daughter did.
While he’s excited about the opportunity to sit on the board as a trustee, he’s taking the election process in stride.
“I’m not really campaigning, I just thought I would make myself available and if I’m elected, that’s great. If I’m not, then the other person would, I’m sure, do a fine job, too.”