Three new trustees and seven returning members took the oath of office and Ray Morrison was selected to another term as board chair during the Saskatoon Board of Education's inaugural meeting held Nov. 1.
New trustees Cameron Scott in Ward 4, Ross Tait in Ward 7 and Suzanne Zwarych in Ward 8 were elected to a four-year term during the Oct. 26 election, as were incumbent trustees Vernon Linklater in Ward 2, Kathleen Brannen in Ward 6 and Charmaine Bellamy in Ward 9. Holly Kelleher in Ward 1, Donna Banks in Ward 3, Colleen MacPherson in Ward 5 and Morrison in Ward 10 were elected by acclamation.
Morrison told trustees during the inaugural meeting that the board faces a number of challenges during its term as trustees work to ensure a quality education for students and responsible management of the province's largest school division.
"Trusteeship in a time of fiscal constraint, increased enrolments and diversity is obviously complex," he said. "Our role, to the best of our ability, is to balance the expectations of our stakeholders in light of the significant, on-going budget constraints and to deliver the highest quality education programming possible. That is no small undertaking.
"I believe that each of us sitting at this table has much to offer this board and Saskatoon Public as a whole. It's our collective knowledge and willingness to listen to varied perspectives that can be our strength. As chair, I commit to strive to ensure that all trustees contribute their opinions to ensure that our discussion is balanced and fair. It's important that all voices are heard through the discussion and debate."
Growing enrolment and the continuing importance of responding to the needs of students during a time when the board is dealing with constrained funding will require thoughtful decisions on where and how to allocate resources, he said.
A continued focus on the board's Literacy for Life and Collegiate Renewal strategic learning priorities will allow the board and school division to improve the learning outcomes in the division. A commitment to providing staff with the necessary environment, development and instructional tools plays an important role in creating opportunities for students and a positive learning environment.
"It is important now, more than ever, that we continue to make decisions based on students and learning as our first priority," Morrison said. "We as a board must strive to provide equal opportunities for all students to ensure that each student has access to the programming and resources that they need to be successful. We must continue to focus on educating the whole student, which goes beyond the traditional core academic areas. After all, we are in the business of developing the citizens and leaders of tomorrow."
Trustees Kelleher and MacPherson were chosen to serve six-month terms in the role of board vice-chair during the coming year.
School division trustees serve a four-year term that began with the board's inaugural meeting. The first regular meeting of the new board took place during the evening of Nov. 1.