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Vancouver School Board faces scrutiny amid workplace harassment allegations

VANCOUVER – Accusations of harassment in the workplace. Refusals to pass a balanced budget. The firing of entire boards.

School boards across the country have attracted attention over internal discord and for being at loggerheads with provincial governments. But some experts say what happens in school districts is just as common at other levels of government, albeit far less public.

“You see clashes between elected officials and bureaucrats all the time and at all levels,” said Gerald Galway, a professor of education at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador who also spent 16 years as a senior bureaucrat involved in the province’s education system.

“But I would suggest (it’s) much more public at the school board level than behind the closed doors in the board rooms and offices in ministries of government.”

The latest school board storms are happening in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland where board trustees have rebuffed recommendations from officials to close individual schools because of falling enrolment.

But there have been a number of examples of friction between school board members and provincial governments, including the axing of school boards in Nova Scotia over the past decade.

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