School Boards


The Role of School Boards

School boards are elected by the voters of a school division or district to provide for the educational needs of the community's school-aged children. By provincial law, there are certain things that every school board must do, and certain services they must provide. However, there are also things that school boards may do. School boards work with their communities to ensure that local schools offer the specific programs and services that meet community needs. School trustees are the community members elected to serve on school boards. They come from all walks of life, but share a common desire to serve youth and their communities. A complete description of the powers and duties of school boards can be found in The Public Schools Act.

Becoming a School Trustee

School board elections are held every four years, in conjunction with municipal elections, on the fourth Wednesday in October. The next election will be held on October 28, 2026.

In order to run for school trustee, a candidate must be a Canadian citizen who is at least 18 years old and an actual resident of the school division or district in which they are running. The following individuals are disqualified from serving as school trustee: a Member of the Legislative Assembly or the Senate or House of Commons of Canada, a member of the council of a municipality, or a pupil in regular attendance at a school within the same school division or district. Employees may serve as trustee in the division or district where they work, but they are required to take a leave of absence to do so.

Once an individual decides to run for the office of school trustee, this next step is obtain the necessary number of signatures on an official nomination form. You can find out more about the nomination and election process in the association's guide, School Boards and Trusteeship in Manitoba, in The Public Schools Act, and in The Municipal Councils and Schools Boards Elections Act.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the questions we are asked most frequently at the Manitoba School Boards Association office, and their answers, are listed below. If you have questions about trusteeship please contact us. We can be reached by phone at 204-233-1595, or toll-free at 1-800-262-8836.

If you have questions that are specific to your own school division or district, contact the school board office.

Q: When is the next school board election?
A: School board elections are held every four years. The next general school board elections will be held on October 26, 2022.
Q: Who serves as public school trustees?
A: Public school trustees come from all walks of life. They are retirees, homemakers, professionals, trades people, university students—the list goes on. What these people do have in common, however, is a sincere interest in children and education, and a desire to serve their communities.
Q: I live in one school division, but own property in a neighbouring one. Can I run for school trustee in either of the two divisions?
A: No. The Public Schools Act requires that a candidate be "an actual resident in the school division or district," and that he or she has been so for a period of at least six months at the date of the election.
Q: My school division is divided into three wards. I live in Ward 1. Does that mean that I have to run as a candidate in Ward 1, or can I run in one of the other wards?
A: A candidate does not have to live in the specific ward in which he or she runs, as long as they do reside in the division or district. However, nomination papers must be signed by electors who do live in the ward in which the candidate will be running.
Q: My spouse teaches in the school division in which we live. Can I still run for school trustee?
A: An individual whose spouse works for a school division or district may still be a trustee in that same division or district. There are, however, some matters which come before the board where that trustee would be considered to have a conflict of interest. In those situations (such as salary negotiations), that trustee would not involve themselves in the debate or voting on that specific matter. There are a number of other situations where a trustee could have a potential conflict of interest. Legislation requires that situations such as these be declared when a trustee takes office.
Q: I am a public school teacher. Does that disqualify me from running for school trustee?
A: A teacher or other school division employee may serve as a school trustee. If you work in the same school division or district in which you live, you will be required to take a leave of absence from your job in order to serve.
Q: If I'm elected school trustee, how will I learn about the job? Will I be offered any training?
A: Most school divisions and districts offer orientation sessions for new trustees, to familiarize them with local policies and procedures. As well, resources and training are offered by the Manitoba School Boards Association, shortly after each school trustee election. Together, local and provincial learning opportunities help new trustees better understand their new role, and develop skills they need to be effective board members.