By Justin Seward
Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) will have Meredith Conboy, Arnold Frank and Pam Cursons seeking election for two seats on the school board of trustees in Ward 4 (Redcliff-Jenner-Ralston-) in next week’s municipal election.
Conboy is the new candidate of the three but having her kids going through the school system and being involved with school parent councils at Margaret Wooding, Parkside and Isabel F. Cox schools has given her a better understanding of the issues that parents are faced with in the schools.
“It obviously gives me insight into the schools,” said Conboy.
“I’ve also dealt with the trustees that we’ve had over the last 10 years. I feel like I have the knowledge to go into the role. I don’t think I know exactly what is to come but I think I’m prepared due to the fact I have been on parent council and having been involved in the school system.”
She is originally from a rural community and believes PRSD is the best school system for student retention, classroom success and transportation to and from school.
Additionally, Conboy is familiar with the Redcliff schools more than Jenner and Ralston but is eager to learn more about those rural institutions.
“The PRSD’s numeracy and literacy are on the top of education, which is where it needs to be,” said Conboy.
“As long as these kids are leaving school knowing how to read, knowing math, those are the life skills you really need. And every school council thing I’ve been at, I’ve learned so much about what the other schools in our division are doing for literacy and numeracy. I think it’s fantastic.”
She understands the over-capacity issue at RMAP, the electrical upgrades needed at Parkside School and with the circumstances are doing a great job with they are working with.
Frank has been on the PRSD school board of trustees for five terms, which has seen him work with five superintendents and the important aspect for him his how he casts his vote for what is best for the kids.
“The responsibility of a trustee first is to come to the meetings,” said Frank.
“I would not change the fact that I do all the preparation I possibly can and gather all the information I can to be prepared for our meetings. That’s my focus is trying to take care of that business because it still amounts to one vote for me. It’s important that I’m informed to cast that vote as well as I can.”
Despite having very little to do with addressing rural educational issues of the transition of students, Frank said as a school system they can analyze where the students are going or if there is anything that could have been done to retain students but the only solution is to sustain the educational quality for the remaining students.
He would like to see scores increase in some areas and the board is inspiring to do that and a solution PRSD’s transportation shortfall for funding.
A newly built school in Redcliff would be on his wishlist in the future.
Cursons has been a trustee with PRSD for six months after being elected in a by-election last spring and has learned a lot being the board.
“I’ve developed a passion for the work and that coupled with my previous experience and my rural routes is what leads me to believe that I would be a solid candidate because I understand small communities ,” said Cursons.
“I went to school in a very small school. I understand the limitations just due to the fact that there’s not all the programming that some city schools have. I am dedicated to ensuring that there’s equitable learning opportunities for all schools.”
She said the teachers are doing excellent work in delivering programming but when the opportunity presents itself, she will always be looking for new ways to introduce new programs.
An improvement for PRSD would be more diverse programming for the students and a balanced budget and a fresh perspective would be what Cursons would want to see if she is re-elected.