Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 27, 2004
School board race is on
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The race to elect a new board for the Edmonton Catholic School Division is on with 13 candidates vying for six out of seven seats in the Oct. 18 municipal election.
The only ward that will have no election is Ward 1, where the incumbent, Debbie Engel was elected by acclamation. The rest of the wards have two or three candidates each.
Engel said her acclamation is not due to lack of interest but recognition that she is doing a good job.
She said other people interested in running in Ward 1 decided against it after learning Engel would be running again.
"This is a terrific vote of confidence from the people of my ward who think I'm doing a good job," the mother of two said Sept. 21.
"I just think it's important that people know that I'm committed, that just because I was elected by acclamation in no way will affect the importance I put on the position and how hard I work for the people who have given me this honour."
The move will save Engel about $600, the estimated cost of her campaign. "So I'm relieved. I feel really good today. I feel like it has been Election Day already for me."
She vowed to continue working hard for her ward. "I intend to stay very busy in the parish, the school and the community," she said.
"I also want to work with the government to obtain proper funding and support for Catholic schools and I want to make sure that the district stays viable both economically and academically."
Other surprises include the decision by board chair Charlie Koester not to seek a second term in Ward 6 and the resignation Sept. 2 of veteran Ward 2 trustee Ron Zapisocki.
"Basically I wanted to spend some more time with my wife and my kids and needed to put some more time into my business," Koester, a financial advisor and father of two, said of his decision not to seek reelection.
"I was finding that I was just stretched for time and I wasn't able to give the time and effort to all of them to the degree that I wanted."
He said he found the job of trustee very rewarding.
"I found that I learned a lot about the education system and I learned a lot particularly about the Catholic school district and how passionately all the administrators and the teachers and all the staff are toward Catholic education," he said.
"And that's the part that I enjoyed the most and that's the part that I am going to miss the most."
Zapisocki, who has served as Ward 2 trustee for 12 years, resigned his office Sept. 2 after a long period of discernment.
"I've enjoyed being a trustee and I like that kind of work but I had to make a decision this summer (as to whether to continue for three more years)," he said.
"First of all, I am 71 years old and I thought three more years would be a bit much. Then I went to see my doctor and he said, 'Hey, Ron, take a little stress out of your life.' So that kind of made my decision."
Zapisocki is proud of his long record of service and thankful of the many opportunities the position offered him.
"Trusteeship has been very, very good to me and opened the doors of friendship and purpose in my life in many areas," he said. "It gave me the opportunity to get to know bishops, archbishops, priests and parishes, schools and school councils."
Following is a complete list of all trustee candidates by ward:
Debbie Engel Elected by acclamation
Janice Sarich and Jim Urlacher
John Beke and Mark Razzolini
Rudy Arcilla, Debbie Cavaliere and Joe Filewych
Marilyn Bergstra, Judy Buddle and Doug McCarthy
Patrick McDonald, Kara Pelech and Jim Shinkaruk