Kathy Burtnik, president of OCSTA.

OCSTA seeks more candidates for trustee elections

  • September 6, 2014

Despite reports in August that about half of the candidates for Ontario's school board trustee positions were running uncontested, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association isn't worried about the election's integrity. 

“Every day there are more and more people putting their names forward so I think by the time nominations close we might see a different landscape as far as numbers of interested folks,” said Kathy Burtnik, president of OCSTA. “As of right now there are a number that are running uncontested but in my history on the last day of nominations that changes dramatically. I don't know what motivates folks to put their names in last minute but it is always a good sign.” 

Those interested in running for the position have until Sept. 12 to put their name forward. Ballots will be cast across the province on Oct. 27. 

Burtnik, chair of the Niagara Catholic District School Board, will be running again this year. 

As an active trustee and voting citizen, Burtnik said there are pros and cons of an uncontested candidate. From the candidate's vantage point being acclaimed is a sign you are doing your job right, she said. 

“It is a nice thing to be uncontested,” she said. “It is a sign of validation. People like to say that it is a lack of interest but I would say that it is a validation of support for the candidate and the work that they've done.” 

But as good as it feels for a trustee to go unopposed, it can have a negative effect on the level of engagement of local voters. 

“It leads to a sense of disinterest if you don't have to go online and research who the best candidate might be,” she said. 

Burtnik encourages those considering a run at office to register before the deadline. 

“It is a remarkable experience,” she said. “I would encourage everybody to live at least one term as a trustee to see the good works that come of that.” 

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