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Long-time SPERD trustees will not run again

When locals go to the polls in October, there will be some long-serving names missing from the ballots for the St. Paul Education Regional Division board.

When locals go to the polls in October, there will be some long-serving names missing from the ballots for the St. Paul Education Regional Division board.

After serving on the board for two terms, current chair Maureen Miller says she will not be seeking re-election.

“Although I have had an incredible experience, the new four-year term for me is a deterrent,” says Miller, via email with the Journal. “My future plans will require more flexibility before that term is up.”

Miller says she has been fortunate to work alongside “six other trustees that have had a common goal of education and children first.” She encourages anyone with an interest in education to become involved with the board.

Looking forward, Miller says a new board will have to challenges to face.

“Changes in the future are also encouraging, and yet will pose some challenges,” says Miller, adding, “Implementing the new Education Act and offering services with a budget that is a forever moving target requires creativity and a pulse on the community of priorities.”

Past chair Darrell Younghans has also decided to pursue other endeavors, after spending 12 years on the SPERD board.

“I just think it’s time maybe to get some new blood in there,” says Younghans, adding, he is also sitting on the board for Portage College and is the president of the local PC Association, “so time has been an issue.”

Younghans also points to the new four-year term as being a factor in his decision.

Long-time trustee Ron Rudkowsky, who has also been on the board for four terms, is another familiar face set to step away from the board.

“I will miss it,” says Rudkowsky, adding, “It’s pretty interesting, but there comes a point when it’s time to retire.” He believes that anyone considering running in the election has to come with some experience in fiscal responsibility.

“The school board spends a lot of taxpayer money.”

But, Rudkowsky is confident there are qualified people willing to step up.

Yet to make a decision are Trustee Deb Pederson and Trustee Rhonda Lafrance.

Pederson, who has served for three terms on the board, says she will take the summer to decide if she will run. She adds that anyone wanting to run as a trustee should have a “passion for education.”

Lafrance says she is leaning toward serving one more term with the board.

“There are some items that I would like to see come to fruition,” said Lafrance, in June. She adds that she is happy with the work that has been done by the board in recent years.

Vice Chair Heather Starosielski says she will be running for a second term.

“My passion for education began when my own children began school 10 years ago,” says Starosielski, adding, she has been honoured to represent her community for the past three years.

“The past three years have had some challenges, but my time in office has also been extremely rewarding. There has been some low times, such as the accident at Racette, but we have also enjoyed some great successes that include the Racette modernization, the start of construction of the Two Hills Mennonite School, and the new gym due to be completed this fall in Elk Point.”

Rhea Looy will also be seeking re-election this fall.

“I am passionate about our children’s education,” she says, adding, having a board that works together as a team is something she values.

This year’s municipal and school board elections will take place on Oct. 21. Nomination day for the school board is Sept. 23. This election will be the first since the province made the change to four-year terms, rather than three-year terms.

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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