Former chair Grinham back on school board

Former School District 71 chair Rick Grinham handily won the right to be a trustee again after a three-year absence.

Former School District 71 chair Rick Grinham handily won the right to represent Cumberland, becoming a trustee again after a three-year absence.

He prevailed 832 to 193 over Courtenay resident Yolanda Goodwin at Saturday’s civic election.

Grinham did not seek re-election to the school board three years ago, instead finishing close behind Fred Bates in the Cumberland mayoral race.

He decided to run again because he wanted to ensure local representation on the board of education.

“I actually think this race, if you boil it all down, it became an issue of resident versus non-resident,” he said.

The retired Grinham had served three years as board chair and one year as vice-chair during two previous terms as a trustee. During that time, when the board decided the district could no longer afford middle schools, he said it would be cheaper to keep Cumberland Junior School open than busing students into Courtenay.

He feels there is room to expand the junior and elementary schools in Cumberland, as opposed to opening two new schools.

“My philosophy would be that both the schools are in prime positions and they had additional land adjacent to them for expansion,” Grinham said. “To keep the schools in the centre of the community would be a valuable asset. As we expand, there’s room for growth in both of those schools. Bums on buses don’t work.”

Grinham was a founding member of the Cumberland Community Schools Society.

“It’s very, very successful,” he said, noting the lunch and after school programs. “I believe that as a community grows there has to be a stronger relationship between recreation and the schools. We have the schools here. They’re open 5 1/2 hours a day. They’re being used in the evenings now but could be used even more. Working with the municipality and with recreation I think is a win-win situation.”

His term will start next month.

Cumberland was the only Comox Valley school board seat not determined by acclamation. Janice Caton and Donna Gambacorta will represent Courtenay, Dr. Peter Coleman is the Comox trustee, and Sheila McDonnell, Tom Weber and Paula Selby will represent Areas A, B and C respectively.

Rick Grinham       832

Yolanda Goodwin 193