The finite details of candidate campaign costs and contributions are now public. Progress file

Election documents show Chilliwack school board candidates shared finances

Unofficial ‘slate’ of trustee candidates report sharing portion of contributions

The last bit of paperwork in an election is the filing of disclosure statements. Those self-reported documents were made public this week, and show the amount of campaign contributions, significant contributors, election campaign costs and other data required by Elections BC.

The disclosure statements reveal that five of the 17 candidates for Chilliwack School Board shared funding for campaign purposes.

Heather Maahs, Barry Neufeld, Darrell Furgason, Erma Vietorisz and Kaethe Jones list each other as shared users of contributions on their statements.

Of those five, Maahs, Neufeld and Furgason won a seat on the board of education. Kaethe Jones came close and applied for a last-minute recount. That recount cost the school district $35,000, and the results were changed by one vote via a missing ballot.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack school board to foot $30,000 to $35,000 bill for judicial recount

The five candidates did not run as an official slate, but were featured on a hand-delivered flyer together. Many early copies of that flyer circulating did not include the required contact information required by Elections BC, but was later corrected.

Those five candidates received the following contributions: Darrell Furgason, $6,483; Barry Neufeld, $5,520; Erma Vietorisz, $5,017.96; Kaethe Jones, $4,750; and Heather Maahs, $4,677. Their individual campaign costs varied.

The remaining candidates who earned seats on the seven-person board are Dan Coulter, David Swankey, Willow Reichelt and Jared Mumford.

Coulter garnered the most votes in the election, and also spent the most. He took in $7,602.77 in contributions and spent $10,102.77. A handful of politicians contributed to his campaign, including Adrian Dix, an NDP MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway and minister of health ($100), and Katrina Chen, an NDP MLA and minister for child care ($250).

Swankey took in $4,780 in contributions and spent $4,476 on his campaign. Among his donors was Sam Waddington, a former city councillor. He finished third in the mayoral race in the Oct. 20 election.

• READ MORE: Nearly 25,000 people cast ballots in Chilliwack

Reichelt took in $5,065 and spent $4,448 on her campaign, with a listed $1,200 donation out of her own pocket. Interestingly, Reichelt received a $40 donation from an out-of-province donor, and returned it as ineligible. She is the only candidate to list a refunded donation.

Mumford spent the least of all winning candidates. He took in $2,085 in donations for a campaign that cost $2,520.28. Of that, $2,000 was from himself and a family member.

Of those who didn’t win a seat, the campaign costs varied.

Natalie Sache spent the least, at $500 from her own pocket. Meghan Reid spent $1,412.40. Michael Prill spent $2,650, mostly of his own money. Brian Mielke lists $1,049 in campaign contributions. Peter Lang funded most of his own $1,220 campaign.

Kelly Janveaux had a fundraiser during the campaign, and she spent $2,548 in total. Chris Braun reports spending $3,959.12, using a loan for a small portion of that cost.

Silvia Dyck, a longtime school trustee, lost her seat. She spent $1,317 campaigning out of her own pocket.

In total, more than $62,000 was donated to Chilliwack school trustee candidates. The largest amounts came from the Van Maren family. Bernie, Eric and Gijsbert Van Maren each donated to the five candidates who shared election costs, a combined total of $12,000 through 10 $1,200 donations.

The reports are available on the Election BC website.

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