School board of trustee elections loom

By Nathan Crombie nathan.crombie@age.co.nz -
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School trustee nominations open on May 6 and close May 20. Voting takes place from May 25 to June 3. PHOTO/FILE
School trustee nominations open on May 6 and close May 20. Voting takes place from May 25 to June 3. PHOTO/FILE

The triennial school trustee elections kick off in Wairarapa and across the country next month.

Janet Kelly, election project manager for the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA), said about 14,000 parent representatives will be elected to about 2500 school boards throughout New Zealand this year, the 10th election since the introduction of self-managed schools in 1989.

The association is running the elections with the Ministry of Education. Nominations open on Friday, May 6, and close on Friday, May 20. Voting takes place from Monday, May 25 to Friday, June 3, Mrs Kelly said.

"School trustee elections are one of the most significant democratic processes in New Zealand," Mrs Kelly said.

The theme of this year's election is Make a difference -- Ki te whakapiki, she said, and the call was out for "people who can make a positive difference to our children's learning".

Mrs Kelly said it was important a school's board reflects its community.

"A good balance of gender, ethnicity and skills around the board table will influence and support educational opportunities for each and every student in our schools."

In a recent survey of board chairs, 25 per cent said their current trustees will be seeking re-election.

Another 60 per cent said less than half the incumbent trustees would be restanding for election and 78 per cent said they were confident of receiving enough nominations to fill their board positions.

Mrs Kelly said all parents of students enrolled in a New Zealand state or state-integrated school were eligible to nominate themselves or someone else from the community for election to a school board.

Mrs Kelly said each school decided the constitution of its board, which could have from three to seven parent representatives.

She said each board needed an average of five parent representatives. Also on the board were the principal, a staff representative and a student representative for schools with Year 9 students and above.

"You can look outside your pool of parents for people with governance experience or people who want to help lift student achievement, and we want as many people as possible with those skills and goals to step forward."

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