An education professor says delaying an audit of the Vancouver School Board was a savvy political decision on the part of Minister Mike Bernier.
The Education Minister announced the forensic audit will now be extended by a further 14 days due to bullying accusations.
It’s not yet known if Bernier will fire the board, but UBC professor Jason Ellis says the messy situation could actually work to his advantage.
“He may be feeling the pressure or he may be sensing an opportunity. You know, if the audit comes out and says that finances are a mess, he may be feeling pretty good because he may have bought himself an opportunity to walk away from a mess.”
But until both staff and trustees get along, Ellis says everything is on hold.
“I think it’s a political decision, it’s also a necessary decision because the audit takes time to complete. And it takes the cooperation of the trustees and the staff working together to be able to complete and that’s been a problem but it’s a political decision as well. The minister is going to wait and see what the audit reveals and then he’ll act accordingly.”
The audit report, which is being overseen by Peter Milburn, B.C.’s former deputy minister of finance, was due to be completed on Friday.
It looks at trustee expenses, last year’s budget, governance and decision making.
The audit was initiated after a heated spring in which the VSB and province clashed repeatedly over finances, with the board refusing to pass a balanced budget and implement $21.8-million in cuts stemming from an operating shortfall.
Rather than fire the board as permitted by the Schools Act, Bernier brought the auditor in.