Understanding the Impact Between Municipal Ward Boundaries and School Board Electoral Zones

Understanding the Impact Between Municipal Ward Boundaries and School Board Electoral Zones
Posted on 12/01/2020
Understanding the Impact Between Municipal Ward Boundaries and School Board Electoral Zones

The City of Ottawa is currently reviewing the electoral boundaries of municipal wards. Many people have asked how this impacts the electoral boundaries for school board trustees.  Municipal ward boundaries establish the framework for determining electoral zone boundaries for school boards. Should the City of Ottawa make changes to the ward boundaries, the OCDSB will have to make adjustments to its electoral zone boundaries. This affects election boundaries only, it does not affect school attendance boundaries.  

 

The OCDSB has 12 elected trustees and each trustee represents one electoral zone. An electoral zone is made up of one or more municipal wards. Only municipal wards that are contiguous (adjacent at some point along the ward boundary) can be combined into one zone.  Electoral zones cannot sever or intersect municipal ward boundaries. When electoral zone boundaries are created, every effort is made to ensure there is some balance in the size of the zones. This is calculated based on the electoral population of the zone. 

 

School attendance boundaries are different from electoral zone boundaries. School attendance boundaries define the catchment area for students who are eligible to attend the school. A review of electoral zone boundaries does not impact on the school attendance boundary - where students go to school is not affected by electoral zone boundary changes. Across the District, it is common to find situations where a school is located in one electoral zone, but many of the families attending the school live in a different electoral zone. 

 

Changes to the city ward boundaries will require a zone boundary review, but the specific impact on OCDSB electoral zone boundaries cannot be fully understood until the municipal ward boundaries are confirmed and the electoral population distribution report is available. The OCDSB will begin a discussion on the electoral zone boundary review process in January 2021. There will be opportunities for public input in the review process and information will be posted on the OCDSB website and shared with families.


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