Kircher cruises to public board seat


With the support of more than 50 percent of those who voted in Monday’s municipal election, Dave Kircher has secured one of the two trustee seats for Fort Frances on the Rainy River District School Board.
Kircher garnered 1,570 votes while longtime trustee Dan Belluz earned 734 votes to retain his seat.
Terry Higgins—who joined the board in 2008 following the resignation of Donna Dittaro—finished third with 579 votes.
“I think [the public is] giving me a mandate to proceed with what I guess I’ve been doing for the last two years,” Kircher said about the strong response from voters.
He was referring to his ongoing push to get answers from the school board on issues such as how almost $300,000 in funds went missing from Fort Frances High School over a three-year period, a faulty drinking water monitor at Sturgeon Creek School, and other operational practices he has taken issue with.
While he can’t speak for the other new trustees, Kircher said he intends to pursue the
questions he’s been asking until he receives satisfactory answers.
“It’s a democratic institution and in order to function properly, and basically satisfy constituents, it has to be transparent, it has to be accessible, and it has to be accountable,” he stressed.
“And those three things in my opinion, for the last two years, have been lacking.
“I think the election results [show] most people feel the same way,” Kircher added, extending thank-yous to his staff at Tichborne’s, Larry and Betty Fontana, as well as all of the people who voted for him.
“I just hope I fulfill their expectations,” he said.
Kircher isn’t the only new face who will be sitting on the public board for the upcoming four-year term.
Ralph Hill ousted incumbent Glenda Belluz for the trustee seat in the Alberton/La Vallee/unorganized area, winning by a margin of 285-225.
Dianne McCormack, meanwhile, came out on top with 387 votes against fellow newcomer Michele Abraham (213) for the seat which serves the western end of the district.
Incumbent Rob McAlister chose not to seek re-election.
Mike Lewis was acclaimed for the trustee seat for Atikokan after incumbent Judy Eluik opted not to run again.
Incumbent Margaret Heyens—representing the Emo area—also was acclaimed, joining Belluz as just one of two returning trustees.
“I’m quite pleased to be back on the board,” Belluz said about being re-elected.
“I see the first year being very challenging, trying to get all the newcomers, in fact the whole board, to work together for the betterment of the entire district, other than specific areas,” he remarked.
“I’m hoping that the whole board will once again look at the entire district and see what’s best for all the students, and not just a select few,” he added.
Looking forward, Belluz said there is the continuance of the board’s four-year plan it had just gone through.
“And setting up a new strategic plan, adding to it, maybe making some changes, reviewing it and updating it, and going from there,” he noted.