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Holy Family will not require criminal record check for election

The Holy Family School Division will not require candidates running for a trustee’s position to have a criminal record check in the fall board elections.

WEYBURN — The Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division will not require candidates running for a trustee’s position to have a criminal record check in the fall board elections.

The decision came after some discussion by the current board of trustees at their last board meeting before the fall.

It was also the last board meeting for two senior administrators who are both retiring, religion coordinator Lynn Colquhoun and education director Gwen Keith.

Both were presented with a blanket featuring the logo of the school division, by board chair Bruno Tuchscherer.

In the board discussions about the fall elections, discussion centred around a letter from the Saskatchewan School Boards Association which suggested candidates should have such a check done.

In their letter, it was stated that a candidate who has been convicted of an indictable offence would be ineligible to run.

Director Keith pointed out it was very unclear what would be done with the record checks, or who would be the one to enforce it if a question arose.

Georgia Hanwell, the returning officer for Holy Family, pointed out the board would have to make a motion if they want criminal record checks to be required of all trustee candidates.

Asked what is done with a criminal record check, Hanwell said it’s just accepted as information, and no action is taken with it.

“If nothing happens with that information, why require it? You trust the electorate would know their people well enough,” said trustee Jerome Sidloski.

In regard to the statement that a candidate is disqualified if they have been convicted of an indictable offence, Hanwell said, “I can’t say you can’t run,” but possibly the SSBA can say that.

A motion would have to be made by Aug. 14, which is 90 days before election day, but Holy Family will not have another board meeting until September.

The SSBA letter also indicated this decision would be on a case-by-case basis.

In relation to other election matters, she noted a change to the wording about the requirement for a candidate to get signatures. For the school board, a candidate needs 10 signatures, but the wording used to say “at least 10 signatures”.

The board was also asked if they would require candidates to state their occupation on the nomination form, but as it is not mandatory, the trustees decided to make no motion on this requirement.

The Holy Family board also brought back an item from their last meeting, suggesting the board size be reduced from its current nine member to seven, by eliminating one trustee from the City of Weyburn and City of Estevan.

After some discussion, the trustees decided to handle the city trustee positions in the same way the Radville trustee is handled, namely that they can represent both urban and rural areas around each city. Currently, two trustees represent the City area, and the other the rural area around each city.

The changes require a ministerial order to be put in, and will likely not impact this year’s elections, but the next election in four years’ time.