Lake Cowichan’s Duncan Brown speaks at a May 2012 School District 79 Board meeting prior to being dismissed for failing to pass a balanced budget.

School trustee vote to wait until 2014

Minister cites costs in reversal: Fired trustee says the election should have been held a year ago

A former Cowichan school trustee is unimpressed by the province’s decision to cancel a planned election this fall to replace our fired board of education.

Duncan Brown, a member of the board that was dismissed in June of 2012 for failing to pass a balanced budget, believes the real issue is the fact a byelection was not held a long time ago.

“There should have been a byelection called as soon as we were released,” said Brown. “Every other district in the province, when a board has been dismissed, they called an immediate byelection within 60 days, or at least a couple of months.”

Brown said the reason was clearly politics.

“(Then-education minister) George Abbott at the time said he would not call a byelection because he was afraid the same people would be elected,” said Brown.

“In other words, the people of the Cowichan Valley did not get to vote because they would not vote the right way—in a nutshell that’s what he said.”

Current Education Minister Peter Fassbender revealed late last month in an interview with the Victoria Times Colonist that a new nine-member board will be elected during B.C.’s scheduled 2014 civic vote.

The province states the decision could save taxpayers $100,000.

Brown disagrees.

“I don’t believe it cost anywhere near $100,000 to run an election for the school board,” said Brown. “Democracy isn’t cheap, but it isn’t near $100,000.”

Fassbender’s decision flipped an earlier ruling that put appointed trustee Mike McKay in charge of School District 79 until an election this fall. McKay, the superintendent of the Surrey School District is now expected to continue in his current role until next fall.

Since his appointment McKay has overseen a major restructuring of Cowichan schools, closing some facilities and transforming the mandate of many others. Brown is not impressed.

“He is a representative of the ministry, not a representative of our valley, so in that way I would say he is representing the interests of the ministry quite well,” he said. “I do not believe he is representing the interests of the students, and parents of the Cowichan Valley.”

That echoes his feelings about the ministry of education in general.

 

“They look at the saving, but they don’t look at the costs—to make a long story short.”

 

 

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley Regional District’s affordable-housing strategy moves forward

Board signs three-year financial agreement for initiatives

‘Nick’s Stop’ in Shawnigan Lake is an official bus stop once more

After “much back and forth between us and the Ministry of Transport”… Continue reading

MP MacGregor helps to prioritize whale captivity ban

Request delays zero waste packaging private members bill

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Coming up in Cowichan: Spend Father’s Day fishing, or head to the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Deadline coming to register for class reunion The Cowichan Secondary Class of… Continue reading

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Ginger Goodwin’s Cumberland cemetery grave desecrated

Just days before the Miners Memorial weekend, Ginger Goodwin’s grave has been… Continue reading

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Police make arrest after report of a man brandishing a gun at Campbell River-area lake

43-year-old man from the Comox area has since been charged with multiple offences

B.C. high school withdraws notices for temporary dress code

Parents previously told the Interior News they felt there was inadequate consultation over the rules

Most Read