Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 24, 2007
New crew will sit on Edmonton school board
By GLEN ARGAN
The Edmonton Catholic School board will have at least five new faces after the Oct. 15 civic election.
Five trustees from the previous board are not seeking re-election, while two newcomers have already been elected by acclamation.
And while current board chairperson and Ward 1 trustee Debbie Engel is relieved she too will not have to fight to be re-elected, she's not happy the newcomers were acclaimed.
She said she was surprised veteran Ward 4 trustee Debbie Cavaliere decided, apparently at the last minute, not to seek re-election and instead to run for a provincial Liberal nomination.
Other candidates would have come forward to run in Ward 4 if they had known Cavaliere would not be in the race, Engel said. "I think it's really important that the incumbents make their intentions known."
Rudy Arcilla, a former public school teacher in Spruce Grove, won the Ward 4 seat by acclamation as Millwoods parent Kara Pelech did in Ward 6 where one-term trustee Patrick MacDonald did not let his name stand again.
The only other current trustee seeking re-election is retired principal Jim Urlacher who is facing two opponents - Luigi Esposito and Rebecca Kallal - in Ward 2.
In Ward 3, currently held by Mark Razzolini, former trustee Jim Shinkaruk will battle Joe Filewych and Cindy Olsen for the seat.
And in Ward 5, John Acheson and Marilyn Bergstra will face off for the seat now held by Judy Buddle.
Engel lauded Razzolini for recruiting a suitable replacement for himself on the board - candidate Olsen - and she recommended the practice to other retiring trustees.
Engel said she has already spoken with superintendent Joan Carr to begin planning an extensive orientation for trustees following the election.
The nine-year school board veteran recalls one year when there were four new trustees. "That year was really hectic. It was the least productive year we had."
Nevertheless, she said, "I'm looking forward to lots of new ideas too."
Some new ideas will no doubt come from the acclaimed Ward 4 trustee Arcilla.
"I think the centre of the Catholic school should be the chapel," he said in an interview, not the gymnasium.
Children should learn the basics of the faith and learn prayers like the rosary, he said.
Arcilla also advocates bringing high school sports teams to Sunday Masses in nearby parishes to receive a blessing from the pastor.
"It will take a lot of convincing," he said of his ideas. "But sometimes new blood is good."