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B.C. education minister Bernier fires Vancouver school board

Just hours after B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier fired the Vancouver school board, labour groups and parents were lining up behind the turfed trustees, further polarizing a mess both sides insist is all about politics.

Former Delta School District superintendent Dianne Turner has been appointed official trustee by Bernier, replacing the board. It is unknown whether any school closures or cuts will be made before the provincial election next May, but Bernier said he doesn’t expect Turner to rush any decisions.

The education minister made the announcement he was firing the board for failing to pass a balanced budget on Monday morning, the very day the VSB was poised to approve the balanced budget that they refused to approve by the government’s June 30 deadline. “I have no confidence in any of those announcements or decisions they were making,” Bernier said.

“What we’ve witnessed from the Vancouver school board is a misplaced focus on political tactics rather than responsible stewardship,” said Bernier. “The board failed to follow the law.”

Former VSB chairman Mike Lombardi, one of four Vision trustees on the politically split board, said it was an “outrageous political decision” to fire the democratically elected school board.

“The people of Vancouver elected trustees to stand up for public education, not to do the provincial government’s dirty work of closing schools, cutting programs and selling off public assets to address a budget shortfall of their own making. The Vancouver school board is now being run out of Premier Christy Clark’s office,” Lombardi said at a news conference.

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