By Jack Lawson –
Erica Braunovan’s campaign for trusteeship of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s (OCDSB) Somerset-Kitchissippi zone kicked off on June 26 at the Atomic Rooster Bar & Bistro, with a special appearance from MP for Ottawa Centre, Paul Dewar.
“Erica knows what teachers need, and what kids need,” said Dewar during his introduction. “I’m fully behind Erica. I want to see her representing our community.”
“I’m committed to being responsible and available throughout the campaign, and throughout my possible tenure as school board trustee,” adds Braunovan. “I will be somebody who answers their calls and keeps them apprised of what’s going on.”
Braunovan is running against Jennifer McKenzie, the current chair of the OCDSB and trustee for Somerset-Kitchissippi.
The Board of Trustees is made up of 12 trustees elected by zone, and two student trustees. Together they help shape policy for all of the public schools in Ottawa. This includes 72,000 students at 147 schools, according to the OCDSB’s website.
“I’m running for School Board Trustee because what I want for my young children, is what I want for all,” says Braunovan. “All students deserve a strong and fair education in their neighbourhood.”
“Schools are community hubs, or they should be.”
In some cases students are bussing over an hour away to get to school, according to Braunovan. This is just one aspect that she says she wants to change.
“It’s important to have a strong voice representing you,” says Vicky Smallman, a community activist who also spoke at the event. “What we really want is a strong progressive voice that works to represent not only the parents who show up – but those who can’t afford to as well.”
Braunovan has a degree in Social Work and volunteered on NDP campaigns for eight years. She also worked with the Centretown Citizens’ Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) on their Board of Directors for six years.
“[At the CCOC] we worked with a multi-million dollar budget,” says Braunovan. “I’ve dealt a lot with big picture things, but I’ve also worked with the rental committee to help residents.”
The Atomic Rooster was filled with approximately 70 people, and attracted a diverse group including older residents, and young professionals with kids and strollers in tow.
The election of new trustees will coincide with municipal elections on October 27 this fall.