Chilliwack school trustees candidates running under the “progressive” banner won a narrow victory in the city’s municipal election Saturday.
Incumbent Dan Coulter will be joined by Willow Reichelt, David Swankey and Jared Mumford, meaning they’ll hold four of the seven seats on the board.
Across the table they’ll face controversial incumbent Barry Neufeld and long with incumbent Heather Maahs, and new comer Darrel Furgason.
Here are the preliminary results, with 22 of 24 polling machines reporting:
COULTER, Dan 10,550
NEUFELD, Barry 8,993
REICHELT, Willow 8,984
MAAHS, Heather 8,944
SWANKEY, David 7,546
MUMFORD, Jared 7,002
FURGASON, Darrell 6,920
JONES, Kaethe 6,827
JANVEAUX, Kelly 6,412
DYCK, Silvia 6,402
LANG, Peter 6,357
VIETORISZ, Erma 6,351
SACHE, Natalie 6,017
REID, Meghan 5,412
PRILL, Michael 5,331
BRAUN, Chris 5,098
MIELKE, Brian 2,264
Chilliwack’s school board election in 2018 has proved to be one of the more contentious ones, garnering attention from across the province thanks to controversy over an anti-bullying LGBTQ teaching resource.
A slate of shifting size including incumbent Barry Neufeld expressed opposition to the SOGI 123 resource leading to a controversy that overshadowed educational issues in the district.
Neufeld along with Darrell Furgason, Erma Vietorisz and Kaethe Jones distributed flyers with their four faces asking voters to “Vote to protect innocence.” Incumbent Heather Maahs was not on the flyer distributed, but she has supported Neufeld, she has expressed issues with SOGI 123, and Ferguson urged voters aligned with his way of thinking to vote for her as well.
The seven-seat board was always going to have a new look with board chair Paul McManus, vice-chair Walt Krahn, and Bob Patterson not running for re-election.
McManus’s parting message to voters turned out to be only partially heeded with the re-election of Neufeld and Maahs. In a letter to The Progress, McManus suggested the anti-SOGI 123 candidates would likely not be allowed in schools, and their presence on the board would be detrimental to the whole community.
Just a day before the election it was revealed Neufeld has filed a defamation lawsuit against BCTF president Glen Hansman.