Power shifting at Greater Victoria school board

Current chair believes three new trustees will shift the balance of power, with the majority of trustees backed by the teachers' union

Three new trustees could bring a major shift to the Greater Victoria board of education.

“I think the [election result] is going to change the direction of the board,” said current board chair Peg Orcherton.

Ann Whiteaker topped the polls with 20,252 votes. She will be joined by fellow newcomers Rob Paynter (18,926 votes) and Jordan Watters (16,658).

Orcherton (20,083 votes), will be joined by five other incumbents when the new board is sworn in Dec. 1: Deborah Nohr (20,177), Diane McNally (20,057), Elaine Leonard (17,855), Edith Loring-Kuhanga (17,389) and Tom Ferris (16,940).

“What I’d like to see is the board moving in the same direction, focusing on what benefits students, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen,” said Orcherton.

She expects the three new trustees will side with three others currently at the table, something she fears will put “the benefit of the teachers’ union before the benefit of the students.”

Orcherton also expects the new balance of power will bring an end to her term as board chair.

“I don’t think that’s going to be in the cards. I think with a new majority it will likely shift. We’ll have to see on [Dec. 1].”

Orcherton plans to call on the other trustees to present a united voice to advocate for the proper funding models so students get the education they deserve.

“With the chronic underfunding of education, we need to work together with one voice, not fighting amongst ourselves and with stakeholders group, which allows the government to continue to abrogate their responsibilities,” she said.

Current vice-chair Bev Horsman was unsuccessful in her bid for re-election with 16,351 votes. Nicole Duncan (14,247), John Rizzuti (12,458) and Ruth MacIntosh (12,222) also fell short of gaining a spot on the nine-member board.

 

editor@oakbaynews.com