Veteran Border Land School Division (BLSD) trustee, Patty Wiebe, has been named the new Board Chair. 

Wiebe, who is now in her fifth term and has served as Vice Chair for many of those years, went uncontested for the top job last week at the Board’s inaugural meeting following the October 26th election. 

“I was very pleased that I was acclaimed. It was very nice to have the support of the entire Board,” she said, noting she had stated her intentions to seek the role at an earlier, informal meeting between the trustees. “I thought I would take a try at it.”

That being said, Wiebe has indicated this will be her last term on the BLSD Board of Trustees. With that, she says a priority of succession planning has been set within the group in order to help foster future leadership.

“We had had a prior conversation about the roles of the Executive and committees, and what we were interested in,” said Wiebe.

As a result, longtime trustees Steven Wiebe and Albert Klassen have been elected Vice Chair and Second Vice Chair, respectively. They, along with Patty Wiebe, will serve in the positions for the next 12 months.

One of the first orders of the business for the Board will be to fill two vacant trustee positions. The spots, in Ward 2 and Ward 7, went unfilled after no other candidates stepped forward during the fall election nomination period. Trustees have decided to appoint people to the roles, rather than eliminate any of them.

BLSDPatty Wiebe.

“We thought about the last four years and our struggle with Bill 64, and how we were so passionate about keeping trustees and having that local voice,” explained Wiebe. “So, we felt it was important to keep our nine local voices and local representation for our communities.”

More information on the application process will be released this week. 

Wiebe is looking forward to adding two new voices to the Board, which currently consists of all incumbents.

“Having that history is important, but having new voices always adds to the quality of the information that’s given.”

The hope is to have the trustee positions filled by early to mid-December. Once that’s taken care of, Wiebe says a planning session will take place, serving as orientation for the new trustees but also as an opportunity for the Board to set its priorities for the next four years.

Looking to the term ahead, Wiebe says the Province’s revised funding model for public schools will be just one new initiative the Board will have to contend with.

“...which we still do not have, and we need to set budget by February,” she explained. Despite not yet having the formula, the budgeting process for 2022/23 is already underway. “It makes it very difficult, but it is work we are required to do.”

The provincial government’s collective bargaining legislation for teachers will also be something new for all Manitoba school boards to navigate this term, added Wiebe.

The current board will serve until 2026.