Vision Vancouver dominated in the board election as it did at city hall. All four of its candidates were elected, with Patti Bacchus leading the polls. (Her count was second only to Gregor Robertson and Raymond Louie.) The other Vision Vancouver winners are Mike Lombardi, Sharon Gregson and Ken Clement.
COPE incumbents Allan Wong and Al Blakey were re-elected along with Jane Bouey, who was a trustee from 2002-05.
The only Non-Partisan Association (NPA) trustees elected were former chair Ken Denike and vice-chair Carol Gibson.
Parent activist Patti Bacchus tops the polls with 64, 451 votes, outdistancing her closest competitor by a couple of thousand votes and the ninth candidate elected by nearly 20,000 votes.
Patti exemplifies the type of parent who gets involved because they care about education for all children, not just education for their children. Like many of us her first brush with education politics arose from her experiences as a parent, but Patti shows us that concern about education is a community effort. Patti has been involved in advocacy groups for special education, school seismic safety, and proper funding and resources for public schools. During the several years that I have been involved in the District Parents’ Advisory Council, I have had the opportunity to see Patti working as a parent advocate at the district level on a variety of committees and task forces. As a parent and community member I know that we will be well served by Patti.
Patti would make an excellent choice as the chair of the VSB.
University Town parents and community members identified five top choice candidates for school board. The local issue of new schools was a driving factor behind many University Town voters. Through a community-based process candidates who had demonstrated their concern and capacity for action were endorsed locally. The results show that, at least in our local voting, that our choices were on the top. We still have a lot of ground to cover though. Of the 5,800 odd people registered to vote only 423 actually voted. While some might say it is due to lack of engagement. It may be more appropriate to suggest that the biased manner by which election for the school board is managed is more at fault. The majority of University Town residents received NO OFFICIAL notification of the election. It was only through our local networks, such as the University neighbourhoods Association, that any notification was sent out. This is simply one more element of the democratic deficit that our community suffers from.
Nonetheless, we should take pride in the fact that our choices topped our local polling division. In addition we can very likely claim that our votes were significant to electing one of our strongest allies at VSB, Carol Gibson who just held on to her seat by 66 votes.
BACCHUS, Patti VV 245
LOMBARDI, Mike VV 229
CLEMENT, Ken VV 225
GIBSON, Carol NPA 214
WONG, Allan CPE 201
I look forward to hearing back from Trustees with their answer to the following question. Trustee candidates are invited to respond using the comment feature or by sending me an email directly cmenzies[at]interchange.ubc.ca. This issue and the apparent lack of action that has been demonstrated over almost ten year is one of the central reasons that has led me to run for the position of Director on the Metro Vancouver Board for Electoral Area A. Community members living outside of Vancouver proper on the UBC/UNA/UEL areas receive various levels of service and have different levels of access to real political processes. The school issue has reflected the problem inherent in many dealings that residents have with agencies, institutions, and government offices; that is, we don’t have the real power to affect control over critical issues and furthermore, that people outside of our community seem to have more control over what happens in our community then we do. From Park issues to Schools, it would seem that non-resident interests take priority.
So to our Vancouver Board of Education trustee hopefuls please share your answer to the following question:
You have obviously been following the need for schools west of Blanca and the plan that the VSB put together to try and solve the problem. Almost five or six years ago U Hill Secondary was approved for a renovation that would have had the current building expanded by a couple hundred students and able to accommodate them now. Yet here we sit with schools still years away and many parents doubting that we will in fact really see a school.
Aside from lobbying the provincial government, what will you do (or have you done) to make certain that our children living west of Blanca have the same access to community-based public schools that other children in the VSD have?
VANCOUVER I Vision Vancouver says its school trustees would reduce class size, limit corporate advertising in schools and work to eliminate student fees if elected Nov. 15.
In an education platform to be released today, the party also promises to lobby for more government funding, allow community use of school buildings and press the Education Ministry to hasten its plan for seismic upgrades.
The University Neighbourhoods Association hosted an all candidates forum for school board trustees on Oct. 22, 2008 at the Old Barn Community Centre in Hawthorn Place.
The trustees who participated were as follows. From COPE: Al Blakey, Bill Bargeman, Alvin Singh, and Alan Wong. From NPA: Ken Dynike, Carol Gibson, and Heather Holden. From Vision Vancouver: Patti Bacchus, Ken Clement, and Mike Lombardi.
Community members present were asked to fill out an exit survey to identify their top choices of candidates at the meeting and the highpoints of the meeting. Four candidates stood out for audience members from the UNA/UBC area: Patti Bacchus (Vision), Carol Gibson (NPA), Mike Lombardi (Vision), and Alan Wong (COPE). Many positive things were said about all of the candidates who participated.