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New trustees to be sworn in, chair and vice to be elected

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A last-minute directive from the provincial Education Improvement Commission will see the new district school board trustees sworn in before Jan. 1, as well as the election of the new chairs and vice-chairs.

The EIC has asked all boards to have their inaugural meeting and be legally in power by Friday.

Trustees for the Rainy River District School Board will be sworn in at a hastily-arranged meeting tonight in the boardroom at Robert Moore School.

But the Northwest Catholic District School Board is saying two days is not enough time to organize a meeting--and that the EIC is going to have to wait.

Paul Jackson, director of education for the Catholic board, said he still had to talk with trustees to set a date for the board’s inaugural meeting, which he said probably will be held sometime over the Christmas holidays.

Jackson said the EIC has to understand that a board which stretches from Sioux Lookout to Rainy River just can’t meet at the drop of a hat.

"They don’t realize we can’t do teleconferences here," he said. "We have to meet face to face."

Although the new boards will be sworn in, the old boards will still hold sway until Jan 1. Jackson explained the "overlap" of boards is to ensure a smooth transition with no gaps.

Several other resolutions will have to be passed after the trustees are sworn in, not the least of which is the election of the new chair and vice-chair for both local boards.

On the public board, newcomer Frank Sheppard said he won’t be seeking either job. "I think it’s a position which is going to require some experience," he said.

Sheppard added he didn’t think he would have enough time to handle the extra duties of chair or vice-chair. Anne-Marie Fitzgerald of the Catholic board echoed similar sentiments, saying she was "definitely not running."

There’s a little more action over the vice-chair position. Dennis Brunn, who held that post on the old public board, said might be willing to throw his name in the ring tonight.

"I wouldn’t mind continuing in that capacity if that’s what the other trustees want," he said.

Brunn’s counterpart on the separate board, Cheryl Lovisa, has made similar designs.

"I’m definitely going to run for vice-chair," she said. "I’ve done it for one year and I like the fact that you seem to learn more--there are always things to learn."

But neither Brunn or Lovisa were gunning for the top seat. In the Catholic board, Lovisa believed someone from Dryden would take the chair.

Meanwhile, Gord McBride, who has served as chair of the old public board in the past, said he hasn’t heard of anyone being pegged as chair on the new one.

"I think we’re going to have a discussion and see who’s interested," he said. And while he didn’t say if he would put his name up for the job, he did say he wouldn’t turn it down.

"If the majority of the board would have me serve, I would," McBride said.

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