Education minister not firing Vancouver school board yet

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      Education Minister Mike Bernier isn’t about to sack trustees of the Vancouver school board.

      “I’m not going to do that today,” Bernier told media on Thursday (June 30) after trustees failed to adopt a balanced budget in a board meeting the previous evening.

      Instead, Bernier ordered an audit of the school district.

      “By me firing the board, this is what they wanted,” Bernier said.

      According to the B.C. Liberal education minister, some members of the board have been “daring” him to fire the board through their public pronouncements.

      “By me firing them is only playing into their politics,” Bernier said. “I don’t want to play politics.”

      In another press briefing, the chair of the Vancouver school board was asked if he was surprised that trustees weren’t canned.

      “I’m never surprised,” Mike Lombardi responded. “I wake up every morning thinking about what the day holds, and today is another one of those days.”

      According to Lombardi, he has two or three meetings lined up for the day, and he may even visit a school.

      He denied that the board is playing politics by refusing to deliver a balanced budget.

      District staff are slashing $21.8-million in administration, maintenance, and education costs to make up for the budget shortfall for 2016-17.

      “Well, for me, it’s about kids and teaching,” Lombardi said. “I ran for trustee in Vancouver eight years ago because I want to make a difference.”

      In a meeting Wednesday (June 29), the board rejected the province’s proposal for the district to sell Kingsgate Mall.

      The Vancouver school board has a policy of not selling lands. Lombardi said: “We think that’s shortsighted.”