Voters and voices important to democracy, says ATA President Mark Ramsankar
Both incumbent vice-presidential candidates will retain their seats on Provincial Executive Council (PEC) following a four-person race in the recently concluded PEC election.
Greg Jeffery and Robert Twerdoclib beat challengers Katherine Pritchard and Myrna McLean.
Jeffery earned the highest number of votes (1,980) with Twerdoclib getting 1,959. Pritchard got 1,781 and McLean 864.
President Mark Ramsankar and eight incumbent district representatives were acclaimed to their positions when nominations closed Jan. 14, leaving three races for district representative.
In Calgary City, challenger Jenny Regal, incumbent Kevin Kempt and newcomer Kathy Hoehn were elected with respective vote counts of 663, 576 and 392 while incumbent Joanne Boissonneault missed the cut with 371 votes.
In Edmonton McMurray, newcomer Darrin Bauer (535), incumbent Markiana Cyncar-Hryschuk (399) and incumbent Quintin Yardley (394) each earned a seat. Incumbent Christine Harris received 350 votes.
In the South East region, challenger Heather McCaig won over incumbent Chris Kohlman by a count of 284 votes to 168.
Thanks for voting
Voting ended March 22 at 5 p.m. It was the first time in its history that the Association conducted its internal election entirely online.
After learning the results, Ramsankar directed his thoughts to the ATA members who took the time to vote.
“The true rulers of any democracy are those who vote, so my sincere thanks go out to all the ATA members who voted in the PEC election,” he said.
“Those who voted took advantage of the opportunity to have a say in who will speak for them. PEC exists to bring together the voices of teachers and principals from our 55 ATA locals across Alberta,” said Ramsankar. “And, based on past events, we know those voices can be very effective.”
A recent example of such events is the recent decision by the provincial government to reduce the weighting of Grade 12 diploma exams. The Association advocated for such a change for nearly 25 years, and Ramsankar said the government’s decision validates his belief that teachers have the power to effect change in Alberta’s education system.
“In a few days, the provincial government will announce its 2016 budget. All indications are it won’t be a good one for teachers or students,” said Ramsankar, noting the predicted five per cent cut to public services would come at a time when school board costs are projected to rise by two per cent and another 19,000 students are expected to enrol in Alberta’s education system.
“With the extremely distinct possibility of 2,500 teaching positions being cut in the coming school year, teachers’ voices need to be heard,” he said. “And I can assure Alberta teachers that each and every member of PEC — whether current or in waiting — is listening and they will be using what teachers and principals have to say to shape the Association’s response to the challenging times ahead.”
Newly elected PEC members will officially begin their two-year terms July 1. ❚