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Trustee wants Langley board fired

Education Minister Shirley Bond has been asked to fire the entire Langley School Board, which voted 4-3 Thursday to turn H.D. Stafford Secondary into a Grade 6 to 8 middle school.

The contentious plan has been vehemently opposed by Stafford students and parents, and by parents from the elementary schools in the Stafford and Langley Secondary catchments. They will lose their Grade 6 and 7 students to Stafford.

The vote also alters the structure of LSS, which becomes a Grade 9 to 12 high school.

Following the half-hour meeting, which was a continuation of Tuesday's regular board meeting that ended in chaos, Trustee Stacey Cody revealed she had contacted Bond's office Oct. 31.

Cody said, "I asked her to fire all seven board members and appoint a ministry person to govern the district until the next election because the board has become so dysfunctional."

The meeting's brief and subdued atmosphere was in sharp contrast to Tuesday's at Christian Life Assembly which ended chaotically when, in the middle of chairman Steve Burton's reasons for supporting reconfiguration of schools, several in the crowd interrupted, calling for the meeting to be formally adjourned, or a vote

taken to continue it.

Drowned out by the noise, Burton and Trustees Rod Ross, Alison McVeigh and Hattie Hogerterp assembled with partner groups and the media in a church boardroom. There, the public meeting was formally adjourned to Thursday.

Fewer than 100 people attended and, with the exception of applause for Trustees Joan Bech, Sonya Paterson and Cody, there was none of the yelling and catcalls that punctuated the previous meeting.

Bech sought a motion seeking a deferral until costs of establishing a middle school have been calculated. It was defeated, again 4-3 with only Cody and Paterson supporting her.

Hogeterp, however, argued that the Stafford building "is well suited to accommodate a middle school."

A further motion proposed by Bech was also shot down 4-3. It called on the district to give Stafford's current Grade 11 students priority to choose the school where they want to finish their high school education.

Stafford parent Rob McFarlane condemned the decision, calling the process which led to it "irresponsible, reckless and dangerous."

Another 4-3 vote all but sealed the fate of Murrayville Elementary school, setting in motion a 60-day review and a public consultation process.

Murrayville PAC president Flora Balducci said it will be difficult to break the news to the children of the 96-year-old school. Balducci also lamented that the closure was eclipsed by the Stafford plan.

"We have sat here quietly and respectfully and we have been overshadowed by the Stafford issue," she said.

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