Patti Bacchus out, Christopher Richardson in as VSB board chair

Patti Bacchus has been ousted as Vancouver School Board chair, and in her place will be...

Photo: Vancouver Courier

Patti Bacchus has been ousted as Vancouver School Board chair, and in her place will be NPA trustee Christopher Richardson.

The one Green Party of Vancouver, four Vision Vancouver and four NPA trustees voted in a secret ballot December 8. VSB secretary treasurer Rick Krowchuk reported Richardson received five votes to four for Patti Bacchus of Vision. Bacchus has been board chair since she was elected in 2008.

Green trustee Janet Fraser says she voted for Richardson because she thought the board chair should change.

“What I thought was Patti Bacchus has done a great job of advocating for our students and for funding, but that the positions of the school board and the government have become entrenched and this is an opportunity for a new approach,” Fraser said. “We suggested to Vision that they could have another trustee nominated [for chair] and I would support another trustee to show that there would be some change, and they decided not to make that choice and nominated Patti Bacchus”

Fraser said an NPA chair doesn’t mean an NPA board.

The chair recommends which trustees should serve as vice-chair, chair the board’s committees, liaise with which schools and represent the board with the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, the library board and other agencies.

“Given that the board is four, four, one, we will have to work collaboratively,” Fraser said.

Mischa Oak, the only other Green trustee candidate in the November election let his difference from Fraser be known. NDP MLA David Eby also tweeted his reaction.

But Fraser said she wouldn’t support the Chevron Fuel Your School program. The fact that the Vision-dominated board turned down $475,000 from Chevron Canada became contentious in the election.

At least one tweeter noted Richardson received the fewest amount of votes of the successful trustees in the Nov. 15 election. He received 58,801 votes to Bacchus’s 73,551.

Richardson is a three-time Park Board commissioner, president of the Mount Pleasant Community Centre Association and a chartered accountant. One of his sons is severely dyslexic and Richardson wants early assessment of and help for special needs.

The search for a superintendent

Vancouver School Board superintendent Steve Cardwell will stay on the job until the end of February instead of December.

VSB secretary treasurer Rick Krowchuk says recruitment remains on schedule.

Vancouver-based firm PFM Executive Search posted the superintendent position the week of Halloween.

“Some applicants may have wanted to wait until the election results and some applicants may want to wait until we know who the chairperson is,” Krowchuk said Monday afternoon.

It’s possible a successor from another district would stay put until the end of the school year and wouldn’t start with the VSB until June or July.

Cardwell, who’s been VSB superintendent for five years, delayed his move to UBC to ensure a smoother transition for a new board and a new seismic mitigation project office.

Vancouver Courier