Burnaby school board signals co-operation despite crack in BCA monopoly

The Burnaby school board’s first-ever Green Party trustee appeared to use her first public board meeting to signal she really does intend to work constructively with her Burnaby Citizens Association colleagues – unless they give her reason to do otherwise.

Christine Cunningham was one of five rookie trustees and two returning trustees sworn in at a meeting at Burnaby Central Secondary Monday evening.

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Cunningham broke a decade-long BCA monopoly on school board when she was elected last month, but one of her first moves in office was to nominate returning trustee Gary Wong for chair.

After her election, Cunningham told the NOW she wasn’t worried about being sidelined as the board’s only non-BCA member and that she expected to work collaboratively with her fellow trustees.

“I’ll be concerned if causes arise, but I’m not someone who goes looking for problems,” she said.

Wong, who was elected to his fourth term last month and had been serving as chair for the first time leading up to the election, was acclaimed as chair after Cunningham nominated him.

He was also acclaimed as the board’s representative at the B.C. Public School Employers' Association, with veteran trustee Larry Hayes as his alternate.

Rookie trustee Jen Mezei, former chair of the local district parent advisory council and former president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, was acclaimed as board vice-chair and Burnaby’s representative at the B.C. School Trustees Association, with fellow rookie trustee Peter Cech as her alternate.

Other new trustees sworn in Monday night were Ryan Stewart and Bill Brassington.

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