By Andrew Ehrkamp
News Editor

Joe Becigneul has been a trustee for a year. Now he’s hoping Catholic school electors will send him back to the board of the Greater St. Albert Roman Catholic Separate School District.

“The big question is, ‘What is the government going to do with Catholic education?’ and to make a difference you need to be at the table,” said Becigneul, who won a byelection last fall.

“I want to work closely and collaboratively with the government to ensure the long-term stability of Catholic education; more and more they are seeing the validity of having two school systems.”

Becigneul notes that he has a good relationship with Education Minister David Eggen, which will help as the provincial government conducts a curriculum review.

“I’m also concerned over how tight the budget will be,” Becigneul said of the Greater St. Albert Catholic school district. “There will be financial challenges over the next few years through Bill 1, particularly on the transportation side.”

Becigneul said the school division will feel the financial implications of Bill 1, which cuts school fees and removes transportation fees for eligible students who live more than 2.4 kilometres from their designated schools.

Becigneul is the executive director of the St. Albert Community Information and Volunteer Centre, previously he worked as an advisor to former St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber, and prior to that he was a government affairs director in the hospitality industry.

He also said his past experience on the boards of the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce, Northern Alberta Business Incubator and the non-profit St. Albert Minor Hockey Association will help him as a trustee.

Becigneul would also like to return to the school board to see Sister Alphonse Academy in St. Albert and St. Kateri Tekakwitha Academy in Morinville to completion. They are expected to be completed in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

A grandfather, Becigneul and his wife Beth have been members of Holy Family Parish in St. Albert for more than 20 years, and both of his sons are graduates of Catholic schools.

For the official list of candidates running for trustees in the Greater St. Albert Catholic school district, also with messages from one, visit the GSACRD election page.

The Bishops of Alberta have also written a Pastoral Letter offering guidance in making informed choices in the upcoming school board elections: Pastoral Letter.