Editorial: Vancouver School Board the canary in Clark’s coal mine

Editorial

Tuesday, October 25 2016

This past week started with the various provincial political shows discussing the fact that the BC Minister of Education [finally] fired the entire Vancouver School Board.

For months the VSB and Education Ministry were posturing, as the VSB kept turning in budgets which were not balanced - which is required by law. Last week, the VSB was finally set to pass a balanced budget and the Minister fired the entire board, appointing Dianne Turner, who already held the title of Chief Educator within the Ministry.

The question has been asked dozens of times in the last three months, why is the VSB is having such difficulty balancing their budget when other boards around the province are managing?

The reality is the VSB is the canary in the coal mine. 

Other Boards are using up reserves, selling properties, and doing whatever they can to stay alive and balanced - and many were likely looking to the VSB to set the stage for turning in an unbalanced budget. The VSB refused to close 11 schools to balance their budget.

If VSB is unable to take the provincial government to task for chronic underfunding of education in the province, no other board outside Vancouver has a hope in hell of doing it.

Now, as the former chair of the VSB put it, the Vancouver School District is being run out of Premier Christy Clark’s office. The Trustees were elected by the people of Vancouver to run their public education system. Instead, the Board was asked to do the Minister’s dirty work: closing schools, cutting programs, and selling assets to deal with a shortfall of the BC Liberals’ making.