It’s the Provincial government’s fault for underfunding.
That is the response of the four former Vision Vancouver trustees to Tuesday’s report outlining bullying and harassment of senior staff by the nine-member School Board.In a statement, Joy Alexander, Patti Bacchus, Mike Lombardi, and Allan Wong say they were elected to be advocates for students, and when it comes to children’s education, they do ask tough questions of senior managers at the VSB.
In a statement, Joy Alexander, Patti Bacchus, Mike Lombardi, and Allan Wong say they were elected to be advocates for students, and when it comes to children’s education, they do ask tough questions of senior managers at the VSB.
“The most damning aspects of the Goldner report seem to be trustees asking difficult questions of senior staff at public meetings, ‘audible sighs,’ elected officials communicating with constituents by ‘tweeting during meetings,’ and ‘Board meetings described as extremely unpleasant,'” it reads.
They say tensions were the result of chronic underfunding by this Provincial government and the record is clear – advocacy works.
“VSB trustees secured millions of dollars for seismic upgrades to ensure kids’ safety, a removal of the arbitrary 95 per cent utilization rule, and increased consultation with parents and communities.”
Toxic work environment
The lone Green trustee on the board has also released a statement.
Janet Fraser says the “partisan behaviour of some trustees prevailed over trustees working collaboratively as a board and with VSB staff.”
She says the environment was “toxic,” and was more likely to follow a political agenda, not engage in thoughtful decision-making or discussion.
While yesterday’s 44-page report doesn’t name any former trustee as the source of the bullying it outlines examples
It says one unnamed trustee would always try to embarrass staff and catch them by surprise.
Another is described as demanding and aggressive.
Staff describe some ex-trustees as nasty and rude, while others aggressively questioned staff.
It goes on to describe a heated September meeting during the debate about closing schools as the breaking point.
In that incident, the report says the Superintendent of Schools was targeted with questions by former trustee Patti Bacchus, then laughed at by the audience with no effort by ex-Board Chair Mike Lombardi to intervene or restore order.
The superintendent went on medical leave the following day.