Following the June 15 resignation of the NPA's Christopher Richardson as Vancouver school board chair, trustees have elected his permanent replacement.
Two rounds of voting saw NPA trustee Fraser Ballantyne emerge as the new chair.
Ballantyne, a former teacher and school administrator, beat former chair and Vision Vancouver trustee Patti Bacchus for the post by a vote of 5-4.
It's the second time that Green trustee Janet Fraser has cast the deciding vote handing the chair to the NPA.
In a statement, Fraser explained her decision:
In choosing a trustee for the Vancouver School Board Chair today, I voted for the nominee I thought will provide the best leadership for our school district. My vote was not based on aligning with a party, but based on who would best serve the board at this time.
There were many factors in my decision including my firm belief that the Chair must work collaboratively and respectfully with the entire board, our district stakeholders, and provincial partners. There are many Ministry of Education decisions I profoundly disagree with; however it is important that the Vancouver School Board has a working relationship with the provincial government so that we can successfully act on our many challenges ahead including responding to the special advisor’s report, submitting balanced budgets and moving forward as quickly as possible with the seismic mitigation program.
The Vancouver School Board Chair is an important leadership position but it is still one vote among eight trustees. As a board we have voted unanimously on many occasions and I am sure this will continue. I look forward to working with the new Chair, and to continue working collaboratively with all my board colleagues. For every decision I will vote, as always, for what I believe is best for our students.
In the first round of voting, Ballantyne and Bacchus each received four votes, with Fraser netting one.
Fraser served as interim chair after Richardson stepped down for personal reasons.
In a 2014 commentary piece, Ballantyne noted that he worked at five different secondary schools.
"I stand for high quality educational delivery and equal opportunity for all students. The most fragile students in our community—including ESL and aboriginal students—need all the support they can get, and I will do my utmost to see that it is delivered effectively into Vancouver’s unique neighbourhoods," Ballantyne wrote.
"An NPA-led school board would deliver these programs with strong fiscal responsibility, and accountability, in mind. Currently, the board continues to run large deficits, and it’s difficult for those affected—parents, teachers, and community stakeholders—to understand how its budget is spent. I will work to provide more transparency in the way our budget is managed and delivered, as part of our larger mandate to make Vancouver one of the most open governments in Canada."