I did however have the pleasure to talk to Cindy Littlefair who is running for the School Board in District 4. This school board district (which combines HRM districts 7 and 9) is made up of 40,000 residents Littlefair tells me. She explains that it’s massive and covers both sides of the North West Arm, from Saint Mary’s University to Williams Lake.
While chatting to Littlefair, she brought up a really interesting point – the School Board electoral process tends to get the least amount of attention. “It's quite the challenge to get anyone’s attention for something like School Board, given that the attention for municipal elections generally is as low as it is,” she said. “Maybe people vote for Mayor, maybe they vote for Councillor, but School Board member, that’s pretty low down on people’s list.”
I asked myself (from my politically ignorant standpoint): Shouldn’t those who govern the Halifax Regional School Board be held to the highest (or at least a higher) standard since they are, in a way, representing our future city’s of workers, activists, parents, volunteers and decision makers? Chatting to my friend Jen about this, she asked, “How much influence does the School Board actually have on schools, staff and students?”
I think this is one of the very questions we should ask the School Board candidates who are running in our districts. I also think that if we are going to decide to vote, we should not only invest our time learning about mayoral candidates but also those running to represent the education of our children.
Luckily, if you are living in School Board District 4 (or HRM Districts 7 and 9), you can ask Cindy Littlefair in person. She has already started her pop-up office hours: Saturdays at the Farmers’ Market Java Blend (10-11am) and Atlantic News (12-1pm) and Sundays at Just Us on Spring Garden (11am-12pm).
Dawn E. Penney is also running for School Board in District 4. She has an active Twitter and Facebook page where she mentions her volunteer work and where she may be contacted. Littlefair also has a Facebook page and website outlining her relevant experiences and platform.