Mackenzie Mayor Pat Crook attended last night’s School District 57 board meeting to petition for a change to the way school board trustees are elected.

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Mackenzie Mayor Pat Crook wants SD57 to change its election procedures to better represent rural areas

Crook says the current system doesn’t truly represent rural communities like Mackenzie, McBride and Valemount.

“Hopefully we’ll get the school board to change the way the elections work so they’ll have some form of area representation.”

He says the current trustees all supported the idea of rural representation at an all candidates meeting before being elected.

“My community feels that a promise was made that night so hopefully the school board recognizes that. Ideally, if we got a representative elected in the Robson Valley and in Mackenzie, that would address a lot of concerns.”

School Board Chair Tony Cable says he doesn’t remember any promises about area representation.

“I know that the board were all in favour of representing Mackenzie and making sure that rural education was important but I don’t remember many board members saying, ‘Yes, we definitely need a board member from Mackenzie.’”

Cable says the board’s current trustees are doing their best to represent the education interests of their rural communities.

“I think we’re working really hard to try and represent rural education now. We’ve done a lot of visits to the rural committee. At the end of April, we’re holding a board meeting in McBride. We’re talking with the city council, we’re visiting schools, we’re talking to parents.”

The district currently uses an at large system to elect its trustees, which usually results in representatives from the Prince George Area.

Cable says that, while the board is taking Crook’s petition seriously, it will be a while before a new system is implemented.

“This is just step one to make a decision. If a decision was made to go ahead with regional representation then you’d have all sorts of paperwork and all sorts of things to do with the government.”

Cable pointed to the Rural Educational Task Force and the fact that the board will hold its next meeting in McBride as examples of trustee’s dedication to representing rural areas.