Vision Vancouver's Mike Lombardi becomes new school board chair

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      Vancouver's only Green party school trustee decided last night to replace the chair.

      Janet Fraser cast the deciding ballot for Vision Vancouver veteran and former teacher Mike Lombardi to take over from the NPA's Fraser Ballantyne.

      "In the past year’s Chair elections I voted for NPA nominees, Trustees Richardson and Ballantyne, to reflect the change voters brought to our board," Fraser wrote on her website. "This year I voted for the Vision nominee, Trustee Lombardi, to reflect that the trustees on our board are four Vision, four NPA and one Green."

      Lombardi is a former director of the B.C. Teachers' Federation professional and social issues division.

      There's a certain irony in the Green candidate supporting Lombardi.

      Investigative journalist and Straight contributor Bob Mackin tweeted last night that the new chair held investments in fossil-fuel companies prior to the 2014 election.

      Fraser came under fire earlier this year from Vision Vancouver trustee and former board chair Patti Bacchus for backing NPA trustees as chair.

      Bacchus's criticism intensified in November when the B.C. Liberal government didn't include Vancouver in its list of 109 schools across the province that received capital funding.

      Four schools in Education Minister Mike Bernier's Peace River South constituency were awarded money under this program.

      Fraser had earlier justified her support for an NPA chair because it was important to have a "working relationship with the provincial government".

      When the B.C. government bypassed Vancouver schools on capital funding, Bacchus tweeted: "So much for @NPAVancouver/@VanGreens polite approach to govt."

      Last night, Bacchus gleefully tweeted that advocacy is back with the election of a Vision Vancouver chair.

      Bacchus topped the polls in 2014 with 73,551 votes whereas Richardson was barely elected in ninth position with 58,081 votes.

      The four Vision trustees collected 268,860 votes. The four NPA trustees attracted 243,018 votes.

      The five NPA school-board candidates received 297,081 votes in 2014 compared to 434,626 votes for the seven Vision Vancouver school-board candidates.