Fraser-Cascade school board begins by-election process in wake of trustee’s passing

SD78’s Tom Hendrickson passed away on April 19, just six months after being re-elected in Oct.

Tom Hendrickson passed away on Friday, April 19: a life-long member of the community-at-large, Tom was a nearly-30-year veteran of the Fraser-Cascade School Board. His passing leaves a vacancy on the board that requires a by-election to fill.

The sudden passing of a long-time Fraser-Cascade (SD78) school board trustee has initiated the process for conducting a by-election in the region, just six months after the school district elections were decided.

On April 19, Tom Hendrickson passed away, not only leaving a void in the community, but also on the board, which by law has to be filled within 80 days of electing a Chief Electoral Officer—an action that must occur within 30 days of a trustee’s seat being vacated.

“Out of respect for (Hendrickson’s) celebration of life, which was lovely by the way,” the board decided to wait until mid-May to begin the election process, explained Karen Nelson, SD78 superintendent, at an impromptu board meeting on the afternoon of Monday, May 13.

RELATED: Community feels void left by passing of School Board Trustee Tom Hendrickson

Natalie Lowe, SD78’s secretary-treasurer, has been chosen as the Chief Electoral Officer, and Jim Delnea has been named Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.

“A lot of the pertinent information is still in people’s minds” from the last election, Lowe said at the meeting, “so we won’t have to reinvent the wheel in terms of getting a by-election underway.

“We’ll be advertising calls for nominations within the next week or two,” Lowe added.

According to election policy, nominations must close 46 days prior to the election, so the district will be preparing its nomination packages for release in early June.

The tentative date for the election is July 27, which the board agreed is the “most appropriate date for running the election,” given it has to be conducted between July 13, and August 3.

To run for school board trustee for the Boston Bar area of School District 78, one must be more than 18 years old, and a resident of B.C. for more than six months.

“It would also help if they had an outlook for the whole district, and can commit to not only board meetings, but committee meetings, which there are a lot of,” Linda Kerr, board chair, said. “You need to want to help kids and keep the district moving in the right direction.”

“We’re not here to micro-manage administration,” added trustee John Koopman. “It’s about making a difference for kids, one student at a time, that’s what it’s all about.”

For more information about the Fraser-Cascade school district, visit their website SD78.bc.ca. For election rules, visit the School Act online at BCLaws.ca.



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