With no one opposing her in the race for Rocky View School Board trustee in Ward 2, Patricia Sproule hit the books before her tenure even started.
Sproule was the only one to put her name forward in the newly created ward that was split up between Chestermere and the rural areas of Chestermere, Langdon and Indus.
Knowing she was taking over from Bev LaPeare, Sproule received some on-the-job training from the four-term trustee. While she won’t be sworn into the job until Oct. 24, Sproule has basically got a month-long tutorial and will be ready to go once she takes over.
“I want to be very respectful of Bev and not get in her way,” Sproule said. “She’s been so welcoming and so wonderful. I’ve been following her around. We joke about it.
“I’ve gone to every school council meeting as it’s come up. I’ve been to every school that I will be involved in already I’ve also started to be copied on information on things that are happening in the schools, so she can help me make a smooth transition into the position. I’m really lucky to have her do that for me.”
Sproule will be keeping her ‘day job’ as the executive director for Synergy in Chestermere, which now gives her two ‘part-time’ gigs that will definitely fill her available time.
Already Sproule has identified the biggest issue she will be facing in the new job.
The changes to transportation funding by the province starting for this school year has created a situation in Rocky View County. With the only French Immersion school in Chestermere, if families choose to go that route for education but live within 2.4 km of their designated school, they have to pay more fees than kids who live further away.
Rocky View has picked up some of the costs, but that doesn’t solve the issue long-term.
“What it’s done has caused the Rocky View School division to run a deficit in order to try and ease that inequity,” Sproule said. “If you continue to run a deficit year over year, you won’t be able to operate. You need a more permanent solution.”
Already Sproule sounds ready to take on all these challenges, and he’s excited to join in discussions with the ministry of eduction.
“I feel like I’m getting a bit of a taste of it,” Sproule said. “I don’t pretend to know nearly as much of it as I’m going to need to. It’s going to take a long time to learn.
“I will have to be really open to learning as I go along. I’m very fortunate to have two other trustees who are also acclaimed. One is their second term and the other is their third term. Having that kind of history on the board is very important. They are great resources for me to go to.
“It’s good to have a balance. It’s nice to have some new blood and people to ask more questions. It’s also nice to have people there to answer the questions too. If it’s all new people, then it’s tough.”