Rocky View Schools’ (RVS) Trustee Don Thomas is seeking re-election in the newly amalgamated Airdrie ward.
The west Airdrie resident has been a trustee for six years and vows to continue to fight for new schools, if re-elected.
“The dire straits we’re in here in Airdrie are quite traumatic,” said Thomas. “It’s been frustrating.”
Thomas also supports the Airdrie Council of School Councils, a group of RVS parents pushing for additional schools to be built in Airdrie and Rocky View County.
“I am thankful for the work those parents have done to shed light on our community’s needs,” Thomas said.
Since his first year on the RVS board of trustees in 2004, Thomas, a former principal at George McDougall high school, discovered the value of teamwork from a board’s perspective.
“The first year is always a bit of a learning year,” he said. “Since that time, I’ve seen the value of getting more people involved in decision making.”
Thomas said in this past year, council began working closer with its teachers.
“I believe the board’s efforts to facilitate better communication with parents, school councils and municipal officials have yielded good results,” said Thomas.
Thomas said recent meetings with the Alberta Government were patronizing and the community needs were not taken seriously.
“I think they felt, possibly, that they could let schools go here (in Airdrie),” he said.
The average construction time for a new school is four years and action needs to happen now, according to Thomas.
Currently, multiple Rocky View schools are facing capacity issues. Last year, George McDougall High School operated at 102.9 per cent capacity, Ralph McCall School sat at 98.3 per cent and R.J. Hawkey elementary was at 99 per cent.
Thomas said he wants the next council to be transparent and to seek continued public consultation.
“Not being afraid of debating publicly or talking about tough issues is a hallmark of our present board,” said Thomas.
In January, the board voted to change RVS boundaries because of uneven population growth in the division.
Previously, wards 3 and 7 comprised west, east and rural Airdrie, but will now meld into one area with two representatives. Ward 1 will now assume responsibility for rural Airdrie, formerly of Ward 3.
Airdrie electors will now vote for two trustees and all other RVS electors will elect one trustee in their ward.
Nomination date for trustees is Sept. 20. nominations will be accepted at the RVS offices in Airdrie.