MORRISBURG – Dundas County voters opted for change for their English-Public trustee, electing Larry Berry by a margin of nearly three-to-one over incumbent Jeremy Armer.
Berry, a retired Upper Canada District School Board principal from North Dundas, claimed the win with 4,764 votes over Armer with 1,669 votes.
This is the first English-Public trustee election held in 15 years in Dundas County. Armer was acclaimed as trustee in 2014, replacing three-term trustee Greg Petersma who retired.
Berry told The Leader that he was grateful for the support in the Dundas community for his candidacy.
“The response from people when I appealed to them for their vote was very positive,” he said. “I knocked on over 500 doors in the county.”
Berry said he sees the biggest challenges in the next four years will be expanding programs at Seaway District High School and North Dundas District High School, along with improving communication between the school board and families.
“These small high schools need a shot in the arm and attention,” Berry said of Seaway and North Dundas.
“The recent transportation issues have brought to light the need for better and increased communication,” he said.
Berry added he would like more work done at the administration level to ensure that everyone at the board is focusing on the core-responsibilities of their position.
In the English-Catholic trustee race, incumbent Karen McAllister defeated challenger Donna Nielsen to retain her Dundas-Stormont trustee seat.
McAllister received 1,120 votes to Nielsen’s 837. McAllister won the polls in North Dundas, North Stormont and South Stormont while Nielsen, a former principal of St. Mary-St. Cecilia Catholic School in Morrisburg won the South Dundas poll 238 votes to 215.
“I’m excited about the next four years,” McAllister told The Leader. “Elections are always a good opportunity to engage parents in Catholic education.”
She said that it is an exciting time for Catholic education in the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario.
“We’re closing the gap with exceptional students, which is the most powerful thing we can do.”
McAllister said the next four years will have some challenges for the board to deal with.
“There is some angst with the amalgamations that are going on in the [English-Public] board, that has a ripple effect here,” she said.
She also sees shared transportation with the UCDSB as an issue going forward as the boards look at route consolidation.
With St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School adding a Grade 7-8 program, another issue for her will be retaining those grades at rural Catholic elementary schools like Our Lady of Good Counsel in Ingleside and St. Mary-St. Cecilia in Morrisburg.
“I’m opposed to moving those grades. Those students are leaders in their schools and should stay there.”
François Bazinet was acclaimed as French-Catholic board trustee, Lise Benoit-Leger was acclaimed as French-Public board trustee.
Elected with Berry to the English-Public (UCDSB) board are John McCrae (Ward 5), Donald Cram (Ward 1), Jamie Schoular (Ward 3), Lisa Swan (Ward 7), and John Danaher (Ward 9).
Acclaimed to the board were David McDonald (Ward 8), John McAllister (Ward 4), Bill Macpherson (Ward 2), and Corina Parisien (Ward 10).
At the English-Catholic trustee board (CDSBEO), joining McAllister at the table are: Ronald Eamer, Todd Lalonde, Jennifer Cooney, Brent Laton, Robin Reil, and Sue Wilson.