B.C’s Education Minister Mike Bernier has fired the Board in an announcement made Monday morning.
Bernier says a report that is coming out soon confirmed what he suspected about how badly the VSB has been managed.
The Education Minister says no date has been set for a possible by-election for the new board.
Bernier says he held off firing the board June 30th over concerns of "stability" pic.twitter.com/LI64PX1pCt
— Jeremy Lye (@JJLye980) October 17, 2016
Bernier says Dianne Turner – former Delta school district superintendent – will serve as official trustee for 12 months.
In a sudden turn of events, Vision Trustees on the Vancouver School Board said on Friday that they would now vote to pass the 2016/2017 operating budget.
The board refused to pass a balanced budget in June that saw a $21.8 million shortfall.
The vote was expected to take place Monday.
Trustees react to the news
Green Party School Board Trustee Janet Fraser says she’s not surprised by the move.
“No, because in the past I expected that when we didn’t pass the budget in June I expected we would be dismissed or the Ministry would find more funding so that we could address the most severe cuts and when they didn’t find more funding we were saying that these cuts were too deep and too harsh and we wouldn’t approve the budget then I expected to be dismissed then.”
She says the board knew getting fired was a possibility.
“I’m disappointed we won’t be having locally elected trustees making decisions on behalf of Vancouver students but at the same time when we made our decision not to approve the budget in June we knew this could be a consequence of that decision.”
Fraser says going forward, she hopes the focus will continue to be on students.
Former VSB chair Mike Lombardi, who has slammed the government appointing a trustee to take over the VSB’s role.
“The Vancouver School Board is now being run out of Premier’s Christy Clark’s office.”
He says parents should be really concerned.
“Parents should be deeply worried about this given this government’s dismal track record in education.”
— Mike Lombardi (@LombardiMike) October 17, 2016
NPA Vancouver School Board Trustee Stacy Robertson says he is also disappointed.
“It’s a sad day, but I respect the Minister’s decision. Obviously he considered what options were available to him.”
As for the complete list of options Mike Bernier had, Robertson says he’s not sure exactly what those were.
Robertson also sticks with the idea that the VSB is a hostile environment.
Parent Advocacy Network
Meanwhile Parent Advocacy Network Co-founder – Andrea Sinclair – questions the timing of the announcement.
“He could’ve fired the board immediately when they rejected the budget months ago – he chose not to. So, I think what parents get tired of – certainly I myself I’m now tired of and is no offence or reflection of any of them – but it’s just a constant chess game. Everybody is making a move, everybody is blaming everyone else and the people getting the short end of the stick are the kids.”
Sinclair says she’s skeptical of the results of the VSB audit.
“It’s easy for him to say it when he’s the only one of us who’s actually seen it. It’s had three extensions, it’s the fourth one in two years, you know, so to most people it does seem like a bit of a fishing exercise. But he could’ve fired the board immediately when they rejected the budget months ago – he chose not to.”
She says she wants to know why today, why now?
With files from Janet Brown, Ria Renouf and Jeremy Lye.