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School division in Winnipeg not happy with election day in-service

The decision to have Manitoba students not attend school on election day is not sitting well with one school administration.

As part of Bill 27, the Elections Amendment Act, schools are required to have an in-service day on the day of a fixed date general election. Many schools serve as voting locations during elections.

The bill was passed in 2017, and did not apply to the 2019 election, as it was held a year in advance of the fixed date.

Brian O’Leary, superintendent of the Seven Oaks School Division, said his division is opposed to the in-service day.

“We like our schools open on election day,” he said. “We like kids to see people voting and understand the electoral process.

“We also like the public to come into schools and see that they're clean, well ordered, wonderful places. It gives kids a chance to welcome visitors, guide them around and we've never had issues.”

O’Leary said there were possible safety concerns over strangers coming into the schools, but added that kids are supervised by adults all day. He added that the rules regarding in-service days do not apply to federal or municipal elections.

O’Leary noted the day also impacts parents.

“It's also probably inconvenient for parents to have an in-service in the middle of the week, and might even limit some people from getting to the polls themselves,” he said.

O’Leary is hoping the next government will address the legislation and not force schools to have an in-service day.

“Our board will be writing to the new government to make that request,” he said. Top Stories

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