The dismissal of Vancouver’s school trustees sent shock waves throughout the province. According to BC Education Minister, Mike Bernier, the nine-member board was unable to present a balanced budget by June 30th. A report also raised concerns on the progress and direction of the board.
The Prince George Teachers’ Association is worried about the message the dismissal is sending. President, Richard Giroday, says “What is the message it gives to trustees? I think the concern that I have is what message does it give to people?…What really concerns me is when government literally disbands a democratically elected board.”
He says a huge part of the problem is massive under-funding in public education. In the past 15 years, 22 schools in District 57 have been closed. Giroday adds while the government says it’s increasing funding, there are increased costs the province is not covering.
However, Treasurer the Prince George District Parent Advisory Council, Sarah Holland, says “I think that the only real surprise in that is that it didn’t happen sooner. The trustees in Vancouver had a reputation for putting politics over doing the governance work and fiduciary duty they have to their students.”
While Holland agrees more money could be put to use in school districts across the province, she says politics played a role in the dismissal.