School board elections this November

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Added: Wed, 04/23/2014 - 8:13pm
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Laurent Robillard-Cardinal

The last school board election was six years ago, and electors have a half-year before voting again. The next election is scheduled for November 4, 2014.
School elections in West Quebec will now be slightly different, following the adoption of a new electoral map. For the Western Quebec School Board, the changes reduced commissionaires’ wards from 19 to 11. “Changes in the          divisions were adopted this spring, without objections,” said Mr. Lamoureux, Director General of the WQSB.
Elections were pushed backed to accommodate restructuring plans for the boards, following government funding cuts.
The PQ government made the announcement in 2012, after the previous Liberal government indefinitely postponed the elections of November, 2011. Quebec school boards had hoped the government would twin school board and municipal elections, but circumstances did      not allow the provincial        government to do so.
“The holding of simultaneous elections, in November of 2013, did pose a challenge, but one that could have been    overcome,” said the Quebec English School Boards’ Association President, David D'Aoust.
School boards expect that a simultaneous election would increase voter participation, usually low. During the 2007 school board election, voter turnout was dismal,       especially for French-     language school boards. Turnout for West Quebec only reached 13.3%. Province-wide it reached 7.8%, while voter turnout was 16.9% for English-language boards. Not only was voter turnout poor, but candidates themselves were scarce. Of the 19 positions within the WQSB, 16 were picked by acclamation.
Recognizing a lack of interest, the Quebec English School Boards’ Association, which represents nine English-Language boards, including the WQSB, said it would encourage prospective  candidate interest for the coming 2014 election. It’s not yet clear how new candidates are being attracted.
“QESBA is impatient about renewing our rendez-vous with our electors. Our English public schools are cornerstones of our communities. Those communities shouldn’t wait yet again for the chance to choose their educational leaders,” added D'Aoust.
While this November’s elections won’t match any municipal votes, the provincial government is working on combining school        and municipal elections            for 2017.