UPDATE – 11:40am: Board Chair Rachael Weber released a statement through the district. You can find that at the bottom of the article.
On Thursday (March 9), School District 57’s board of trustees had a closed door meeting.
In the two days following, three prominent members of the district are gone.
Long-serving trustee Betty Bekkering is the latest to leave, joining Gillian Burnett as the second school board trustee to vacate their position in as many days.
Burnett was a first time trustee, but Bekkering has been a part of the board for nearly a decade, elected in 2011, 2018, and 2022.
When running for re-election in the fall, she told My PG Now she “really liked where we (the board) were by June, just prior to the closure for summer break this year.”
Evidently, something has changed.
Her departure from the board was not mentioned in the release the school district sent out yesterday, but both Bekkering and Burnett are no longer listed on the school district’s list of trustees.
Bekkering and Burnett both made the decision to leave, which was not the case for now former Superintendent Cindy Heitman, who was voted out of her role by the school board on that same Thursday meeting.
Board Chair Rachael Weber has not responded to a single request for comment from My PG Now since being elected in October.
These departures will cause a by-election, there are now be two seats to be filled by voters at an upcoming, undetermined date.
This is far from the first controversy the 6-month old board has faced. For more, click here.
There is no school board meeting in March due to spring break.
Weber released the following statement via the school district:
“Every member of the Board is committed to education and importantly, brings diverse perspectives. The Board has been, and continues to be, steadfast in creating an environment where different ideas and opinions are welcome and productive debate encouraged before fact-based decisions are made – including those of governance and policy. The Board remains focused on building collaborative relationships with rights holders, partners, and stakeholders in working to ensure the District is meeting the needs of students, teachers, and staff. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Ms. Burnett and Ms. Bekkering for all their hard work and wish them the best in their future endeavours. A by-election will be held to fill the vacant positions.”