Editor: The two newly-elected school trustees are making much about being independent. The evidence, however, points to another conclusion.
Unions played an active part in school board elections and influenced results.
“Of the 29 candidates endorsed by the New Westminster and District Labour Council (NWDLC), 25 were elected. CUPE B.C. had a similar success rate with many of the same favourites,” according to a Vancouver Sun article.
Not coincidentally, teacher and support staff contracts are being negotiated during this term.
So who did the unions endorse in Langley? The New Westminster and District Labour Council endorsed Wendy Johnson, Cecelia Reekie, Megan Dykeman, Rob McFarlane and Candy Ashdown.
CUPE endorsed Johnson, Reekie, Dykeman, McFarlane and Ashdown. As for the Langley Teachers’ Association endorsement, the same names appear — Johnson, Reekie, Dykeman and Ashdown. Does anyone really believe there isn’t something expected in return for this support?
These five trustees are linked through a web of other endorsements as well. Ashdown and Dykeman are endorsed by Johnson and McFarlane. Ashdown and McFarlane are endorsed by Johnson, Peter Fassbender, Marlene Grinnell and Rosemary Wallace.
Reekie is endorsed by Johnson and Grinnell. Dykeman is endorsed by Johnson, McFarlane, Diane Pona (Ashdown’s mother), and Bruce McCloy, a Stafford/LSS reconfiguration opponent.
It looks like Johnson has her team and will control the board. A team they may be — independent, not likely.
In Langley, there is yet another reason to question the independence of the new trustees. They have more than endorsements in common.
All five are linked through the South Central school reconfigurations. Johnson was principal at Stafford and vehemently opposed to the reconfiguration.
As a parent, McFarlane was so incensed that he moved his children to an Abbotsford school. Reekie was supported by the anti-reconfiguration group in the January byelection.
Dykeman is a Glenwood parent opposed to that school’s potential closure, and became president of a DPAC executive dominated by anti-reconfiguration parents. Ashdown is a parent at Uplands wanting that school returned to K-7, and the daughter of a man who swore at Trustee Stacey Cody for voting against that proposal. Cody voted independently. She was not re-elected.
When it comes to the independence of these trustees, let me quote Shakespeare, they “doth protest too much, me thinks.”