Role of the Trustees

What do school board trustees do?

School board trustees are local politicians elected by and accountable to the community they serve. The provincial government delegates to school boards the responsibility for conducting the affairs of the school jurisdiction. The school board has many responsibilities, including:

  • setting school division goals that ensure students have the knowledge and skills that enable them to be better prepared for life;
  • planning school division priorities based on provincial curriculum requirements, community input, available resources and best practices in education;
  • developing and implementing an annual budget for the school division based on curriculum requirements and strategic priorities;
  • developing policies to guide school division administration and employees toward division goals;
  • ensuring residents of the school division are regularly informed about the work and achievements of the school division;
  • advocating on behalf of the school community to decision-makers and stakeholders on important issues that affect education, and to ensure education is a top public priority;
  • ensuring regular opportunities for public input and access;
  • evaluating the school division’s chief executive officer – the superintendent of schools.

Alberta’s 61 school boards include more than 400 trustees, who make important decisions about how to educate close to 600,000 students from kindergarten to Grade 12. School boards guide the expenditure of $6 billion in tax dollars.

What rules must trustees follow?

School boards and trustees are governed by the provincial  Education Act. Based on provincial legislation, Aspen View Public Schools' Policy Manual includes several references to the role of the school board and its trustees. Some key elements include:

  • Accountability to the provincial government and to the community;
  • Selecting and evaluating the superintendent, but respecting their administrative authority;
  • Supporting decisions of the school board and striving to develop a positive and respectful learning and working culture;
  • Working with fellow trustees in a spirit of harmony and cooperation;
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of privileged information;
  • Remembering that individual trustees have no legal authority outside of board meetings;
  • Declaring any conflict of interest and abstaining from voting when appropriate.

How much are trustees paid?

Trustee compensation rates are determined annually by the board of trustees, but can also be adjusted by board resolution. Compensation is governed by Aspen View Public Schools Policy 7: Board Operations (Sections 12 & 13).

Currently, all Aspen View Public Schools trustees are paid a $250 per month Communication Fee. The board chair and vice-chair are paid an additional $383.88 and $100 per month respectively. When they prepare for and attend meetings or other functions in their elected role, trustees can claim a per diem of up to $208.18 per day, plus mileage and meal allowances. The current Aspen View Public Schools Trustee Remuneration Form can be found on the division website.

For the 2019-20 school year, the average remuneration was approximately $10,780 per trustee; including expense reimbursement, conference coverage and health and pension benefits, the average compensation was approximately $20,800 per trustee. A full summary of trustee compensation is included annually within Aspen View Schools' Audited Financial Statements.

What's the time commitment of a trustee?

School board meetings account for approximately two full days per month. Board meeting locations rotate between the division office in Athabasca and schools across the division.

Trustees also serve on various board committees as described in Aspen View Public Schools Policy 8: Committees of the Board. Committee meetings are regularly scheduled each month and usually take approximately half a day each.

There are two large conferences and several small conferences and workshops throughout the year.

Beyond regular board meetings, the time required of trustees for committee meetings, conferences, etc. can range from a half day to up to three full days per month.

Trustees' time is also spent attending school council meetings, school functions and other events related to their role, as well as communicating with stakeholders, preparing for meetings, keeping up to date on issues related to education, etc.

Travel is a requirement of any trustee position for board and committee meetings, conferences, etc.

In a general election, school board trustees are elected to four-year terms; the current term expires in October 2021. Trustees elected through a by-election retain their position until the end of the current term.

What kind of training do new school board trustees get to help them be successful in their roles?

There is a wealth of training and professional development available to new school board trustees. ASBA provides new trustee orientation and online resource materials as well as professional development at spring and fall general meetings.

Aspen View Public Schools will hold a board orientation session on October 25, 2021 prior to the annual organizational meeting.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2021 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.