Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
July 16, 2001
Wanted: New school trustees
Edmonton Catholic board looking to fill 3 vacancies in fall election
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — There will be some new faces in the Edmonton Catholic School board this fall as three of the seven school trustees in the current board won't be running for re-election this fall.
Ed Wieclaw, who represented Vegreville on the board, won't run again because in February the board dissolved the partnership between the two communities. Vegreville and Edmonton had joined together as a regional division in 1997.
With Vegreville out of the picture, Catholic voters will be electing seven trustees in six wards throughout the city in October.
But as election time gets closer, two long-time trustees - Ron Patsula and Brian Mitchell - have decided to stay out of the electoral process this time.
Patsula, who quit as trustee for ward 4 in March to protest the board's plan to close inner city schools, has decided not to run in October "for family reasons."
"I think it's time for me and my wife to enjoy our grandchildren," he said. "I've been a trustee for three terms and I had decided that I would not be running for a fourth term some time ago."
Patsula, however, won't hide his disappointment over the board's recent decision to close Sacred Heart and St. Michael schools and then build a new school at St. Michael's site.
"I've always had a very strong commitment to maintaining schools in the inner city and I think we have lost that commitment and so therefore to some extent I'm a little disappointed," he said.
Mitchell is also staying out after three terms as trustee for ward 6.
"It's been nine years," he reflected. "I went to Catholic schools and one of the things they taught us is if you have something that you can give your community then you do that. And I did it for nine years and now I'm going to go and have a life."
Board chair Debbie Engel could not be reached for comment but is expected to run for a second term as a trustee for ward 1.
Ron Zapisocki, a ward 2 trustee for the past nine years, is also running again. He wants to be around to see the completion of the board's capital plans, mainly the construction of five new schools, and to continue working to transform the outdated 4x4 process of formation of rural Catholic districts.
Most importantly, Zapisocki is still excited about Catholic education. "I've worked hard for Catholic schools and I want to continue to help," he said.
Former teacher Jim Shinkaruk is also planning to contest his seat as a trustee for ward 4, which he has held for nine years.
"Somebody has to take care of the business of educating our students (and) I feel that I am qualified to do that," he said. "I've been an educator. I'm certainly business-minded and I have made very definite contributions, one of which is the (district's) capital plan, where we are going to have five schools built."
Added Shinkaruk: "I feel that we certainly have achieved a lot in the past three years and I would like to continue on that."
Judy Buddle will also seek a second term as trustee for ward 5. "I'm going to run for sure," the mother of nine confirmed July 9 from Kelowna, where she is vacationing with her family.
"I've just completed one term and I feel I'm just in the process of learning what a trustee does," she said.
"We have some very exciting things coming into the Catholic school board in terms of new schools and new programs and a new superintendent and I would like to be part of that."
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