Peter Fortna has announced his candidacy for the Cochrane ward of Rocky View Schools (RVS) board of trustees.

The son of two teachers and former member of the Keyano College Board of Directors wants to bring a fresh perspective to the board and his platform revolves around three major issues.

He wants to ensure safety at schools during the COVID era.

"I think it's important that the new school board take that responsibility seriously and make science-based, pragmatic decisions that will ensure our kids stay healthy. Some of these decisions won't be popular, but at the end of the day, we need to make sure that our kids stay safe."

He believes educators need a seat at the table when it comes to making curriculum decisions, something we didn't see during the revisions to the K-6 curriculum. He also believes it's not developmentally appropriate.

"We need a strong voice to tell the government that we expect better. We expect our teachers to be involved in curriculum development. In Cochrane, our kids deserve the best, and I think this draft curriculum still needs a lot of work and it's going to be important for school boards, such as RVS, to provide that input and make sure that we have a world-class curriculum."

He wants to advocate for more classroom space for overcrowded Cochrane schools.

"I think we need a strong advocate for making sure that Cochrane has enough schools for all the students that are here and all the students that are coming and to make sure we do the long-term planning necessary to make sure everybody has a place to learn."

Fortna recently founded the Friends of the Cochrane Public Library, which aims to raise funds for library programming and infrastructure. Pre-COVID, the Fortnas were hosting house concerts as part of the national Home Routes program.

"It's always been important to me to give back. I've been pretty lucky in my life to have a successful company and to work with a lot of different people. So when I see the chance to give back to the community, I do my best to take that opportunity."

Fortna was born and raised on a farm west of Airdrie. He and his wife Gretchen have two sons in Rocky View schools.