The Education Minister says he’s not ruling out replacing the Vancouver School Board.
Minister Mike Bernier says he is “seriously considering replacing the Vancouver School Board,” but before making a move will wait for a WorkSafeBC report into allegations of bullying.
Six senior staff at the School Board are on sick leave over allegations of bullying by trustees.
Now, Vancouver School Board trustees face the possibility of losing their jobs.
“I left that option open to replace the board and that is something I will still be seriously considering.”
Bernier says he just shakes his head over what’s going on.
“When we look at right now at what’s happening in Vancouver, you know, I just, every single day I just shake my head at the fact that there’s lack of decision making in Vancouver.”
His comments come after the school board voted Monday to suspend the process to close up to 11 schools after bullying allegations surfaced.
School Board Chair Mike Lombardi says he first learned of the allegations last week.
Reaction from the opposition
NDP Education Critic Rob Fleming has this response to Bernier’s comments:
“I think minister Bernier’s comments today are extremely puzzling to put it mildly. On the one hand he is saying he won’t prejudge the situation, on the other hand he’s saying I’ve already prejudged it and I may fire the board.”
Fleming says the reality is, there are a lot of politics going on.
“I think what Minister Bernier is looking for is another excuse, besides his government’s horrible funding record, is the reason why he would consider dismissing a board.”
Bernier makes funding announcement
Bernier also provided an extra $1 million to boost support for special needs students attending specialized independent schools.
The funds are more than doubling the number of designated Special Education Schools from six to 15 and providing $2,000 to support each qualified student, many of whom are autistic.
“As I think you can appreciate this is really to help support and recognize needs for programs for our diversity we have in the province of BC and students who require supports and special help.”
The Provincial Government invests roughly $350 million a year into special needs schools.