Vision and COPE school board candidates to NPA: will you be voting to close more schools?
Vancouver municipal elections 2011: It's time to stand up to provincial underfunding of the system, slate argues.
Mayor Gregor Robertson, along with Vision Vancouver and Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) school board candidates, have challenged Suzanne Anton and the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) to say whether, if elected, they will continue to vote to close city schools.
“Voters should know that Vancouver Board of Education trustees and candidates from two parties – Vision and COPE – can be trusted to keep local schools open for our kids,” Mayor Robertson said, speaking at the Sir Guy Carleton School on Joyce Street.
Robertson said that in the past last three years, NPA trustees have voted against keeping five important community elementary schools open.
“NPA council candidate Mike Klassen cheered on school closures instead of fighting to keep them open," he said, claiming that the NPA is a risk for people concerned about keeping schools open.
Last December, NPA trustees Ken Denike and Carol Gibson both voted against keeping open five schools in East Vancouver: Sir Guy Carleton School, Queen Alexandra Elementary School, Macdonald Elementary, Champlain Heights Annex and McBride Annex, according to a press release.
“If it were up to the NPA trustees, kids would have been watching their schools shut down forever,” said COPE Trustee Allen Blakey said. “Thank goodness a Vision Vancouver and COPE majority worked together to stop the NPA, and save our schools.”
Vancouver Board of Education trustee and Chair Patti Bacchus said Vision Vancouver and COPE heard from students and parents, while the NPA did not make efforts to keep the schools open.
Vision Vancouver council candidate Tony Tang said he was shocked NPA council candidate Mike Klassen wrote last year that he supported closing schools.
“Why would someone who wants to represent all of our city be in favour of closing schools?” Tang asked. “Mike Klassen has already shown he doesn’t listen to Vancouver voters.”
COPE council candidate RJ Aquino said Klassen was supporting provincial underfunding of education instead of standing up for Vancouver.
“We need city councillors who will back up the Vision and COPE school trustees in keeping our schools open – not argue to shut them down,” Aquino said.