Ken Clement’s narrow defeat puts question mark over future of Vancouver’s public schools


Ken Clement, first aboriginal elected trustee.

The three Vision Vancouver School Board incumbents defeated in the November 15 election all made outstanding contributions, but the 255-vote deficit that denied Ken Clement re-election put a question mark over the future of the city’s public education system.

Tonight’s final meeting of the 2011 – 2014 board paid tribute to work done by Clement and colleagues Cherie Payne and Rob Wynen, both dedicated trustees who put their heart and soul into the task.

But Clement was also the first aboriginal person ever to win elected office in the city. Educational outcomes for aboriginal students improved dramatically under Ken’s leadership and the school board broke new ground in building relationships with aboriginal parents and their children across the city.

Clement’s defeat is not only a setback for those programs, it left Vision trustees Patti Bacchus, Mike Lombardi, Allen Wong and Joy Alexander without a working majority. That’s not good news for those committed to resist cuts to the public education system, which next year’s significant budget pressures make a real possibility.