An incumbent school trustee has switched her constituency allegiance for the upcoming municipal election.
Julia Fraser, who is the current Westside area trustee on the Central Okanagan Board of Education, will be seeking one of the four Kelowna school board seats in the Oct. 20 municipal election.
Fraser, running for her third school board term, said she made the switch when her family moved from West Kelowna to the Mission this summer, where her daughter attends Grade 8 at Okanagan Mission Secondary School.
Fraser acknowledged it has been a contentious past year for education issues on the Westside with grade reconfiguration and expansion of the French Immersion program upsetting many parents.
Two candidates, Chantelle Desrosiers and Chris Vernon-Jarvis, have already announced their intention to run for Westside trustee.
But Fraser said she stands behind the board’s decision regarding those Westside education issues, saying it led to alleviating the enrolment pressures on elementary schools and resulted in a new high school becoming the top capital funding priority for the Central Okanagan School District.
Fraser said running for a Kelowna seat raises bigger challenges for her because she doesn’t have the same name recognition as across the lake.
“It’s important for me to get my name out there. I will be doing a lot of old fashioned campaign door knocking to hear what people think about our education system,” Fraser said.
She also noted that while the board of education has representatives for Lake Country, Kelowna, Peachland and West Kelowna, trustees must make decisions for the common benefit of all Central Okanagan students, not just those in their constituency areas.
Fraser is the current chair of the finance and audit committee, overseeing a $256 million budget.
She says her goals as a trustee are to advocate for stable, adequate and predictable funding; provide quality, uninterrupted education for students; provide teachers with necessary resources; improve collaboration between the school board and other levels of government, local business and the arts community; and develop an evaluation process for school trustees.
Already declared as Kelowna school board candidates are incumbents Lee-Ann Tiede and Rolli Cacchioni along with new newcomers Norah Bowman, Chelsea Frank, Terry Giesbrecht, Joachim Nierfeld and Peter Pagliocchini.
Other Kelowna incumbents Lee Mossman has stepped aside as a candidate due to work commitments while Chris Gorman announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election.
The deadline for filing municipal election nomination papers is 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.
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