With evident friction among Comox Valley School board of education members, Ian Hargreaves resigned both as chair and as a trustee during a meeting on Sept. 1. Photo, Comox Valley Schools

With evident friction among Comox Valley School board of education members, Ian Hargreaves resigned both as chair and as a trustee during a meeting on Sept. 1. Photo, Comox Valley Schools

Island community’s board of education chair resigns

Comox Valley Schools will have to hold byelection to fill trustee spot

The board of education for Comox Valley Schools needs a new chair.

Ian Hargreaves, chosen last fall to chair the board, stepped down both as chair and trustee for Area C (Puntledge/Black Creek) of the Comox Valley Regional District at a meeting on Sept. 1. The meeting, held at Mark. R. Isfeld Secondary, had trustees sitting socially distanced at tables.

“My chair’s report tonight is going to be a little different,” Hargreaves said near the outset of the meeting.

He said he felt it is the board’s job to explain something if the public does not understand some aspect of board procedures, then cited a number of emails recently indicating many people did not understand policy around holding public board meetings.

Specifically, the issue surrounded his decision to end the last meeting on Aug. 20 concerning back-to-school plans at 9 p.m., which he said is board policy, unless all trustees agree to extend a meeting.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley school district looks at student cohorts and more for restart

The reason, he said, is the policy prevents trustees from making “decision by exhaustion” when meetings run late. He added that the board could reconvene the following day for further discussion.

Hargreaves was candid in his criticism of members of the board trying to change the policy out of consideration for their political futures or for their own agendas. At that point, he tendered his resignation as chair and trustee, saying, “It has been an honour to serve School District 71 and this community for the past 38 years, first as a teacher and then as a trustee.”

It had become clear, he said, during the past year his vision for the board was not consistent with that of a majority of trustees. He also criticized board members for ignoring staff advice or leaving public meetings when a vote did not go their way. This friction has taken its toll on his health and resignation was his only option. He added he had spoken with the Minister of Education about his decision.

“This has caused me great distress and stress,” he said. “This board is dysfunctional and has lost its focus…. The problem is not at the board office but at the board table.”

As Hargreaves left the meeting, trustee Janice Caton made a motion for the board to go in camera for 10 minutes to discuss their next step. Boards of education and other local government bodies are typically limited to discussing land, legal or labour issues in camera.

“I think that as a board, we need to go in camera and have a conversation,” she said.

The majority agreed, so the board convened in another room for a little over 10 minutes. When they returned, vice-chair Tonia Frawley took over as chair of the meeting.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley school trustees pick Hargreaves as chair

Staff said they will have more information at the next meeting on the process of going to byelection to fill the vacancy on the board. As well, board members will have to determine whether to wait until November when they usually choose the chair and vice-chair for the year or fill these positions before that time.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Education

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police cordoned off the block of Fifth Avenue from Burde Street to Bute Street in front of the Phoenix House sobering centre in the early-morning hours of Sunday, April 4, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Port Alberni stabbing suspect arrested in Nanaimo

Man was also in possession of fentanyl: RCMP

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Port Alberni postpones organics collection to September 2021

Collection carts will be stored at Port Alberni Port Authority terminal

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour closures coming to Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read