Tony Cable Weighs in on Vancouver School Board’s Dismissal
Prince George, B.C. – Prince George School Board Chair Tony Cable has reacted to Education Minister Mike Bernier’s decision to fire the entire Vancouver School Board today.
The board was shown the door for failing to adopt a balanced budget by June 30, 2016 and for fostering a “toxic” work environment for district staff which included allegations of bullying.
“Well first of all, like a lot of people in the province, there’s always a concern with democracy and when you fire a duly elected board, there’s a lot of concerns,” says Cable.
“Now we in our district have had the same concerns as the Vancouver School Board – we’ve had a real concern with the chronic underfunding crisis in the province and like all districts we want predictable and sustainable funding. And this is something the Vancouver School Board has been crying loud and clear about.”
However, he says where the Prince George School Board differs is when it comes to following the policies and guidelines of the provincial government – namely submitting a budget on time. Unlike the Vancouver School Board who were just going to look at a balanced budget tonight.
“So there’s a real concern about an elected board being replaced and the concern about democracy, but on the flip side there’s ways and means to expressing your concerns about funding by following the rules and regulations of the province.”
He says that includes things his board has employed when they’ve been unhappy with the Province – like sending letters and lobbying MLAs or even getting the community involved.
Cable also finds it hard to sympathize with the Vancouver School Board when they complain about having to close schools in order to save money.
“Why did we have to close 22 schools (since 2002) and Vancouver feels that they don’t have to close any? There needs to be fairness in the province and we can’t have one district taking a bigger proportional piece of the budget.”
The Vancouver School Board was simply following the wishes, and serving the best interests, of the community that voted for them. Firing them all spits in the face of those voted for these School Trustees, but then again; what does this BC Liberal / Conservative Government care about “democracy”?
I sure wish our school board would show some backbone when it comes to standing up for quality public education for our children in this district. Letter writing is not even close to being effective when it comes changing the decisions and priorities of a centralized, power hungry, government that chronically under funds public education in this province!
“The Vancouver School Board was simply following the wishes, and serving the best interests, of the community that voted for them”
Boards do not necessarily follow the wishes of the community. Boards most often deal with compromises. If there is no controversy, then no compromise is required.
As we saw in PG, school closing is controversial. We managed to get through it, probably still with a significant number of parents and children unhappy about the situation.
The Vancouver School Board and the province have a history of disputes over budgeting and the issue of school closures. In fact, the Board was also fired in the early 1980s when it refused to pass a restraint budget as dictated by the province.
Then, 6 years ago, the board initially refused to pass a balanced budget, prompting the province to appoint a special adviser to review the board’s finances. That led to speculation the board could be fired, but instead trustees reluctantly passed a balanced budget.
Perhaps the province has had enough once again.
We must also not forget that there is the matter of the bullying allegation of staff by the Board which is not explained in more detail.
From the G&M: “The board is facing an investigation following allegations of bullying and harassment that emerged earlier this month. Four senior administrators took medical leaves and WorkSafe BC was brought into investigate whether elected board members had crossed the line when dealing with staff. Two others took leaves that had been planned in advanced.”
I would say that the Board has some problems. A WorkSafeBC investigation is not a normal part of harassment investigations. The question I would ask in such a case is whether the Board followed their Harassment Policy which should have included having an independent investigator reporting on the situation.
Sounds to me that the Board has taken one too many “Trump Pills.” ;-)
No the VSB was not serving the community that voted for them, this was something that has been brewing for quite some time. Unlike other elected school boards in BC, the VSB is elected along distinct political party lines. There have been & continue to be allegations of harassment & bullying by members of the VSB towards unelected officials.
Geez Peeps, how many names do you post with ? J Galt, Being human, Ataloss, Still Smoking,… I can’t keep up.
That’s not fair DI . I don’t even know what this peeps thing is that you go back on about .
We’ve got democratically elected decision-makers at both levels. On the one hand, we have the boards, which decide the details of how a particular district is run. On the other hand, we have the legislature and in particular, the Minister, also elected, who decide how much funding to provide. It isn’t democracy vs. something else. The potential for such disputes will be there so long as funding and operations are controlled by different bodies. We could avoid them by having the local school board make funding decisions like it used to, but that would result in widely varying funding from district to district. We could also avoid it by having the Ministry make all decisions, but most people would probably object to the loss of local control.
In BC we have this constant infighting, between the Liberals, and NDP. Arch enemies you might say. Two different philosophies, to say the least.
The NDP is primarily made up of Union workers, Government Workers, etc;
I think if you were to look into the make up of most of the School Boards in BC you would see that they are primarily NDP people. If in fact that is true, then it is easy to see why the Government and School Boards don’t seem to get along.
Its all politics folks. (unfortunately)
“BC we have this constant infighting, between the Liberals, and NDP.”
I think we have a country to the south of us that has the same situation. Even down to the bullying/harassment at the presidential election now.
Is it any different than anywhere else? I think it is different than several decades ago. It is very bitter these days. We are unlearning how to get along with each other.
I was listening to a debate yesterday between a republican and a democrat sunning for a state senate position in Washington State. I was flabbergasted that these two people respected each other, spoke to the questions posed, and even made such statements as “I agree with my democratic or republican nominee.”
The world is becoming too much like an image of the internet blogs. People are growing up with “social” media that expects confrontational comments, bullying, etc.
I really hope they dont close kelly road to balance budget or risk getting fired ,this is crazy!!
People are having a kid or no kids its dropping hard and high school numbers are showing it
This was a disgusting board and the province made the right choice. I seen one of their trustees on the news the other day that was involved in the real estate deal to sell school property and was pocketing a quarter million for brokering the deal. I guess it was prime property for high end condo’s and he justified it by saying the kids will get bused to a better school with more programs and the district will meet a few million dollar shortfall in their budget….
Eagleone, please provide the rest of us with evidence, or a source, that shows one of the trustees was involved in a real estate deal to sell school property and was pocketing a quarter million for brokering the deal.
If you can substantiate your comment, chances are that Vancouver School Board Trustee would be a card caring member BC Liberal Party, and/or has contributed to that same party.
Global TV news about two or three weeks ago they did a story on this. They accused him of conflict of interest, but he brushed it off and said financially it was the right thing to do for the district and if he happened to make some money doing the ‘right thing’ then the conflict of interest didn’t stand.
Not true. Don’t know if you made that up, dreamt it or what but it’s simply not true. The VSB was against closing schools and selling assets, as proven by their last vote on the issue.
“tocic””” hahhahah quite the popular word these days and effective.. Only thing toxic is cLARK AND HER CRONIES… tHE VOTERS WILL REMEMBER HER NEXT ELECTION..
Well if the school board members can be fired..why can’t Clark ? Both where voted in…
Hopefully the province is smart enough next May to fire her.
The BC libs know they’re not going to win any seats in Vancouver so they think this issue wont hurt them. There aren’t enough red necks and bible thumpers to carry the vote in the big city. In fact, they’re hoping to spin it as the rest of the province vs Vancouver and gain some votes in swing ridings.
I think you just nailed her base; red necks and bible thumpers, the same base Donald Trump has.
The liberals were not the only government to fire a school board, the NDP canned the North Vancouver board in the mid 90’s. Is the fact that a bunch of senior staff are on wcb as a result of bullying from trustees could be anothre reason for the decision.The local board made the tough decisions to deal with declining enrolment by closing schools Vancouver must do the same.
alleged bullying. Bernier didn’t even wait for the investigation to react. Same with the audit he ordered. Order to fire the board was drafted Friday, audit results given to him Saturday. Made the decision before he knew all the facts. That tells you it was done for political reasons.
He didn’t want their version of the balanced budget passed, it doesn’t sell any assets to BC Lib friends. He wants a balanced budget that sells assets to party supporters. Just watch, it’ll happen.
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