Vancouver School Board Chairman resigns after audit report

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Vancouver School Board’s Chairman, Christopher Richardson announced his resignation from the Board Monday evening after a recent report claimed the School Board could have saved millions through closing schools.

Richardson made his resignation public during a board meeting on Monday and a media release quickly following, also announcing that Vice Chairperson Janet Fraser would assume his role as interim chairperson. The VSB says it will elect a new chairperson on June 24 during a public board meeting.

Richardson will continue to work with the VSB as a trustee. He is currently liason for 11 public schools and is Chair of the Management Co-ordinating Committee, member of the Education and Student Services Committee, Finance and Legal Committee, Inner City Committee and VSB Advocacy Committee.

According to the VSB, Richardson is a fourth-generation Vancouverite who has worked in the non-profit industry and is a chartered accountant. His community profile is dense, including work as a commissioner and Vice-Chair with the Vancouver Park Board and as a Traffic Authority Special Constable with the Vancouver Police Department.

But Richardson’s community accomplishments were shadowed last week when an audit report of the Vancouver School Board released by the Government of British Columbia suggested that 19 schools could be looked at for closure in order to improve its financial situation.

The 225-page report, conducted by Ernst and Young, contains 52 findings and makes 59 recommendations. It suggests that the closures could generate a one-time $750 million in savings. With overflow capacity in downtown schools, and empty seats in East Vancouver schools, the findings indicate that increasing surplus seats are around 10,000, and suggests “the cost of education is significantly higher in the Vancouver Board of Education compared to peers.”

Richardson did not give a cause for his resignation other than “deeply personal reasons”.

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
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