Class Notes: VSB Chair Bacchus says no to NDP run

She’s been rumoured as a potential provincial NDP leadership candidate, but Vancouver School Board chairperson Patti Bacchus said Tuesday morning she’s chosen not to run.

“After the Griffin [B.C. Supreme Court] decision came out and some of the revelations about what was really happening with the government, particularly in relation to education, I agreed to give it a second thought because I really believe things need to be done differently,” she said. “I have since decided not to run.”

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Bacchus tried to persuade political strategist and communications professional Mira Oreck to enter the race. Oreck assisted Vision Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s 2008 campaign, aided U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and brims with ideas on alternative approaches politics, according to Bacchus.

“She finally told me as of yesterday that she’s not going to,” Bacchus said.

“I do get disillusioned when I watch question period and I see politicians just taking shots at each other. We need a more collaborative values-driven approach where we consider what kind of province we want this to be over the long term, and what do we need to invest in and how do we resolve some of these issues of resources versus environment in a really thoughtful way.”

But a provincial seat has never been a goal.

Bacchus plans to seek another Vision Vancouver nomination for school board.  

“It’s important to have people working on school board who are really devoted to education issues,” she said, “and I am.”

Inner City Pressure
The Vancouver School Board decided March 10 it’s going to change the way it serves schools with the highest concentrations of poverty.

The board will swap its inner city designation for 14 schools for a tiered system with the six neediest elementary schools, Macdonald, Strathcona, Grandview, Seymour, Britannia and Thunderbird, in tier one, Queen Alexandra elementary at Broadway and Clark and Tillicum annex combined with Hastings elementary in tier two and Nightingale, Selkirk, Cook, Henderson, Fleming and Lord Roberts in the third.

Fleming and Lord Roberts weren’t previously designated inner city schools. Mount Pleasant and General Brock elementary were.

The six neediest schools are to receive universal breakfast and lunch programs, a pre-kindergarten program, a special education assistant in each kindergarten class, a full-time literacy specialist, counselling services, other support workers and out-of-school programming.

The school board anticipates no changes to meal programs and staffing in 2014-2015, except possible increases at Fleming and Roberts and decreases at General Brock. Full implementation of the program is slated for September 2015.

Mount Pleasant could lose three staff positions and a hot lunch program, according to parent advisory council member Lewis Villegas.

Gladstone adult ed
Gladstone secondary will house the Main Street (adult) Education Centre this September. The Vancouver School Board approved the relocation from a leased space on Terminal Avenue, March 10. The board was paying more than $600,000 a year in lease costs.

Job action vote
B.C. teachers voted in support of potential job action last week. Any action would depend on progress at the bargaining table said B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker. Initial job action would be administrative, wouldn’t include school closures, a withdrawal of teachers’ volunteer activities or report card writing.
Action could escalate to rotating strikes.

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