By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter
The Durham District School Board has appointed a new Oshawa trustee.
Trustees held a special meeting Monday night where Oshawa Trustee Darlene Forbes, chair of the Trustee Ad Hoc Committee, announced Oshawa resident Linda Stone as the new trustee, noting Stone is “more than happy to fill the position.”
Stone, a former Oshawa Trustee with DDSB, lost in the 2018 municipal election. She placed fourth, being out-voted by Oshawa Trustee Michael Barrett with 7,122 votes, Forbes with 6,836 votes, and former Oshawa trustee Ashley Noble with 6,576 votes. Stone received 6,412 votes.
During her campaign in the last election, Stone noted she was a “strong, passionate voice for parents and [the] community, and an effective liaison between communities and the school board,” while serving as trustee.
“I am focused on student success, well-being and equal opportunity for all students to reach their full potential and I am dedicated to inclusion of all students, fiscal responsibility, and transparency,” she stated.
The Oshawa seat became vacant after Noble announced her resignation from the board in October.
The board had two means by which to fill the vacancy: byelection or appointment. A byelection was never really on the table for trustees as a viable option, mainly due to cost.
According to DDSB staff, the cost of a byelection would be about $500,000.
Through appointment, trustees could choose from either an unsuccessful candidate from the last municipal election, or by application and interview.
At a recent committee meeting, some board members, including Trustee Nikki Lundquist, noted the vacancy as an opportunity to open the door and cultivate some leadership.
“We talk about valuing equity, diversity and inclusiveness and this is exactly the kind of moment where we have an opportunity to invite a broader spectrum of applicants to determine if we can create a board with more equity and diversity on it, but also ultimately make better decision-making when we have a diversity of perspectives,” she says.
While Barrett says he’s “all for equity and very much for diversity,” he was hesitant to make a choice for a community that voted.
He adds when a candidate puts their name forward in an election, they understand the role and has expressed their desire to be able to be represented.
“It’s about being able to listen to the vote and voice of constituents of Oshawa.”
Stone will attend the next board meeting on Dec. 7.