New school board trustees want change

Some trustees on the newly-elected public school board are hoping to tackle class sizes and budget transparency.

3 new faces for Calgary's public school board

Newly-elected trustees for Calgary's public school board would like to see some changes. 1:36

Some trustees on the newly-elected public school board are hoping to tackle class sizes and budget transparency.

Four incumbents were re-elected as Calgary Board of Education trustees: Joy Bowen-Eyre, Lynn Ferguson, Pamela King and Sheila Taylor.

The big upset was the election of Trina Hurdman, who unseated nine-year trustee George Lane in wards 6 and 7.

Judy Hehr is the new trustee in wards 8 and 9, where chair Pat Cochrane retired. Amber Stewart will represent wards 12 and 14, replacing Carol Bazinet, who didn’t run again.

New trustee Stewart hopes the trustees will work together. 

"We do have enough of a change, I think, with three new faces that are coming on board and some of the returning faces that have now had a chance to be out in the community a little bit more and maybe hear what people are saying," she said.

5-2 vote split

Trustees on the public school board usually saw a vote split of five-to-two, with Taylor and Bazinet often disagreeing with the majority.

Trina Hurdman, who was active with the Association for Responsive Trusteeship in Calgary Schools (ARTICS), was elected to the public school board in October. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

Taylor said with three new trustees, she hopes the dynamic will change. She wants the board to focus on high school class sizes, a more transparent budget and holding fewer meetings behind closed doors.

Stewart also wants to see if changes can be made to the public school board's $1.1 billion budget. 

"We need to see what can be done to try and influence change before it is too late," she said. "We can't just accept the budget as it is and say, 'OK well, that's where we are stuck at until June.' I'm really hearing from people that they would like to see what can be done now."

New trustee Judy Hehr, a former teacher and principal, said she is also concerned about class sizes, which are impacted by the budget.

"I'm hoping that the leadership within the Calgary Board of Education spends quality time with the group of us and walks us through the budget," she said.

The new faces on the Catholic school board are Cheryl Low (wards 9 and 10 plus Chestermere) and Peter Teppler (wards 6 and 8). All incumbents were either elected or acclaimed, including Serafino Scarpino, Margaret BelcourtCathie Williams, Linda Wellman and Mary Martin.