Maple Ridge school trustee race drops a few

Number of school board hopefuls down to nine for the election.

Sarah Nelson

The pool of candidates vying for a seat on the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Board of Education has thinned once again after Maple Ridge candidates Rod Smelser and Melanie Scott pulled out of the race.

That brings the total number of candidates running in Maple Ridge to nine, with five seats at the board table up for grabs.

Smelser said he was unable to devote the time needed to campaign after enrolling in classes at Simon Fraser University.

“I had to cut back on something, so that was it,” he said.

Smelser, a recently retired economist with the federal government’s employment insurance agency, said he may run again in 2014, depending on time constraints.

Scott, a young mother of one, said she didn’t feel she was able to make the time commitment to the school board.

“Some things have changed for me and my family, and I felt like I couldn’t put the time in,” she said.

“It’s a big commitment.”

Scott also said she may choose to run again in the next municipal elections three years from now.

While Smelser’s and Scott’s departure has left Maple Ridge voters with fewer choices on their ballot come election day, Pitt Meadows voters won’t have a say in who represents them at the board table.

Eleanor Palis and Sarah Nelson were acclaimed as trustees last month when the only other candidate in the race for the two Pitt Meadows trustee seats pulled out of the race.

By comparison, a total 19 candidates ran for school trustee in the 2008 municipal elections; 15 in Maple Ridge and four in Pitt Meadows.

While trustee elections haven’t garnered much interest from potential candidates this election, the same can’t be said for the Maple Ridge council race, where 28 candidates are vying for six council seats.

“For some reason, people seem to be a lot more interested in the council race,” said Smelser. “But the school district has a bigger budget.”

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