Despite the importance community input, public participation in the provinceâ€™s school board elections has been declining, both in terms of the low number of candidates running for office and voter turnout.
Today, the Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Association launched a province-wide public education campaign to encourage candidates to run and to promote voter participation for the upcoming school board elections being held on September 27, 2005. Called Their Future is in Your Hands, the campaign will include advertising, a new Web site at www.voteschoolboards.nl.ca, media relations and print materials.
â€œChildren are our future business leaders, community leaders and workforce,â€ said Nada Borden, president, Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Association. â€œOur children need a solid education system and effective school boards to support their development. Through this campaign, we will be communicating that the future of school boards, the education system and our children rests with all of us â€“ the potential candidate and voter. This is a province-wide call to action because we all have a responsibility to get involved.â€
Ms. Borden also explained that if more candidates do not put themselves forward to run for school boards, government will be forced to make appointments. She said, â€œThis is not ideal for the boards or our communities.â€
As part of this campaign, the association also launched a leadership recruitment program to be headed by local and national education advocate, Dr. Myrle Vokey. This is a grassroots contact program with community leaders and education champions from across the province joining forces to recruit candidates to run during the upcoming school board elections.
â€œSchool boards serve as an important link between our education system and the community,â€ said Dr. Vokey. â€œThere can be no better way for a person to volunteer services than in the interest of children, in particular in the interests of children in our schools.â€
â€œSchool boards are vital to the future of our children, our education system and ultimately, our communities,â€ said Ms. Borden. â€œBecome a leader on your school board. The nomination deadline is Thursday, September 1. Have your voice heard by exercising your right to vote. Get out to vote on Tuesday, September 27!â€
The Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Association (NLSBA) was founded in 1971 and is entirely sponsored and directed by the provinceâ€™s five school boards. Through the NLSBA, school boards undertake collaborative initiatives designed to foster and promote the interests of public schools and publicly elected school boards throughout the province.