There are 32 candidates vying to be Calgary public school trustees, the most since the city went to a ward pairing system in 1989.

It's also the first time in 12 years there are no acclaimed candidates in the public school board race.

Leslie Newton, acting co-president of the Calgary Association of Parents and School Councils, said she thinks it's mostly parents making the leap to school board candidacy.

"So that's very encouraging," Newton told CBC News.

'It's a great job, because you know that you're making a difference.' — Lynn Ferguson, candidate for school board trustee

In one ward pairing alone, there are nine candidates.

It's a far cry from the dark days earlier this decade, after then-Education Minister Lyle Oberg dismissed all the trustees from the Calgary Public School Board in August 1999.

"It became very apparent that this board could not function as a cohesive unit," Oberg said at the time.

In subsequent civic elections there were few candidates for public school trustee.

But Laura Shutiak, a first-time trustee candidate, is excited about her campaign. She had to pay $100 and collect 25 signatures for her nomination papers, delivered on Monday.

"You know, got the flyers delivered … and, you know, got the Twitter, Facebook stuff all going," said Shutiak, who only decided a few weeks ago to run for office.

Lynn Ferguson is going for her third term and says serving as a trustee has come a long way in the last 10 years.

"It's a great job, because you know that you're making a difference."