Lisa Marie Barron, federal NDP candidate for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding, speaks at an all-candidates’ meeting for school trustees in 2018. (News Bulletin file photo)

Lisa Marie Barron, federal NDP candidate for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding, speaks at an all-candidates’ meeting for school trustees in 2018. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools ponders next move after trustee Barron elected MP

Byelection necessary if seat vacated before Jan. 1 of a local government election year

With one of its board members bound for Parliament Hill, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is pondering its next move in the aftermath of the Canadian election.

With mail-in ballots now counted, Lisa Marie Barron of the NDP has been elected as Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s next MP.

Citing the B.C. School Act, the B.C. Ministry of Education said that if a trustee gives up their seat prior to Jan. 1 of a general school election year, a byelection must be held. The district must name a chief elections officer within 30 days of the vacancy, and must set an election date for a Saturday no fewer than 80 days from their appointment.

Charlene McKay, school board chairperson, said ultimately, what the district does is reliant on Barron’s guidance.

“Trustee Barron will have to let us know what [the] next steps are required for her federal seat,” McKay told the News Bulletin. “The board has not discussed it as a whole, but our intention is to hold a discussion … we kind of knew there was a potential for us talking about it. At this point, we’re going to have to plan that discussion now and see where that takes us.”

There are also some legalities the board has to figure out, said McKay, and the district is seeking legal advice to determine how to proceed.

“When does she take her seat … there’s all these different little steps that we have to get through here to figure out once we know that firm date,” said McKay. “And if she is required to resign – that’s the other piece, I’m not sure if she is.”

Speaking with the News Bulletin after results were confirmed, Barron said she hasn’t decided on what to do about her school board seat.

“We have been talking about a few possible next steps, but as of right now there’s multiple layers and levels of people that we’re talking to, just to make sure that we’re just looking at it holistically, making sure that it’s the best step moving forward and that the students and families in this riding are continuing to be served with a strong board,” said Barron.

The next local government election, which includes voting for school trustees, is scheduled for October 2022.

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reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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