Role of the Trustees

Source: The Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) website is an excellent resource for information on the role of school boards and school trustees. Much of the information shared here is sourced from ASBA.

In Alberta, citizens elect school boards to act for the legislature in their local schools and communities. School boards exist because of the belief that government – and decisions – made closest to the people being governed are the most effective.

What do Alberta school boards do?

School boards are advocates for Alberta’s children

Assessing educational policies to support what is best for the development of the whole child.

School boards are the champions for education

Keeping the positive image of schools before the community to ensure that education is given a high priority and the school community is aware of school authorities’ accomplishments.

School boards are partners in education

Working with and being the voice of parents and public community members to ensure the best education possible for all children, everywhere in Alberta.

School boards are strategic governors

Setting strategic priorities in light of community expectations, available resources, needs of students, and sound educational practice.

School boards are political officials

Reporting to the public electorate through the democratic process, school boards are a government entity charged with the responsibility to govern the affairs of the school authority under the Education Act.

School boards are evaluators

Ensuring policies and practices are effective; ensuring effective management of resources; overseeing the effectiveness of leadership; ensuring policies are implemented in a fair and just manner and effective in achieving intended results for students.

School boards are communicators

Interacting with the many groups and people who have a stake in K-12 education.

School boards are policy makers

Developing policies that guide the administration and other employees in achieving the School Board’s goals for  student success and wellness.

School boards are financial planners

Ensuring transparency to the public for the dollars spent in the school authority and the results for public investment, in addressing the needs of students and the wants of the community.

School boards are legislators

Setting local policy to meet local contextual needs and help drive public policy changes at the provincial level.

School boards are lobbyists

Communicating with all orders of government to make sure that local voices are heard by those who have the power to keep education needs high on the list of priorities.

School Boards are a bridge

Connecting with the community and sharing information of the school authority, the provincial government, and the public.

School boards make a difference

Caring about the needs of children today and for the future; School Boards provide important oversight into the education system ensuring parents’ voices, students’ needs and school community thinking, remain at the forefront in our education system.

 

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 $382.88 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 $197.18 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 2018-19 school year, the average remuneration was approximately $12,200 per trustee; including expense reimbursement, conference coverage and health and pension benefits, the average compensation was approximately $25,480 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.

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