Rob Hutchins, who has been Ladysmith’s mayor for 21 years, will be taking on a new role in December as a trustee in School District 79.
Hutchins decided to run as a councillor in Ladysmith and as a trustee in the Cowichan Valley School District, and he was elected to both positions Nov. 15. Preliminary results show he received the most votes in the trustee election, with 6,699.
Hutchins, a retired educator who was a classroom teacher and school counsellor for 33 years, was part of a seven-member Kids First team during the election campaign, and he’ll be joined at the board table by Kids First members Joe Thorne, who received 5,348 votes; Candace Spilsbury, who earned 5,334 votes; Cathy Schmidt, who had 4,938 votes; and Barb de Groot, who earned 4,791.
Randy Doman was also elected with 4,975 votes; while Elizabeth Croft received 4,090 to earn the seventh spot at the school board table.
Schmidt and Spilsbury were on the board that was elected in 2011 and was fired by the provincial government, despite voting against the district’s 2012 illegal deficit budget.
“It is a great honour to have earned the confidence of voters in SD79 and [know] that the work I have done as director/chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, co-chair of the Cowichan Watershed Board and co-chair of Our Cowichan Community Health Network is valued,” Hutchins said in an e-mail. “I am very optimistic about the seven people that are elected. They are all reasonable, level-headed, dedicated and informed individuals. I believe, together, we will be able to accomplish great things.”
Hutchins says the first priority for a new board is to establish an effective board team and effective governance structure. As a trustee, his priorities are the building of a new Cowichan Secondary School, addressing class composition issues, and building a stronger partnership with other local and regional governments to better utilize the school district’s facilities and resources.
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