It’s now a one-man race for Area C School Trustee, but there will still be two names on the ballot.
At a School Trustee Candidate Forum on Wednesday evening, it was announced that Area C school trustee hopeful, Terence Purden, would be dropping out of the running, leaving Ian Hargreaves to run unopposed.
However, Purden’s name will remain on the ballot as it is too late to remove it.
“If his electorate is not informed of it… he can still be elected trustee for Area C,” said Hargreaves. “Then the position is offered to him. If he again turns it down, that means there has to be a by-election.”
He adds that the financial burden of a by-election would fall onto the school district.
Nick Moore, president of the Comox District Teacher’s Association, said he was surprised to hear Purden’s decision and hopes to get the word out to prevent a by-election.
“My concern would be that it would cost money that comes from the school district’s operating budget and that money could be better used to hire teachers or support staff to support students,” he said, adding that he wishes Purden the best and respects his decision.
Purden was one of 38 candidates across the province listed as opposed to SOGI 1 2 3, education materials designed to make schools inclusive for all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Hargreaves is in support of SOGI 1 2 3 and says it has been well accepted by the community.
“I’m supportive of inclusion and diversity. I have supported the board and its policy since it was established in 2010,” he said.
Hargreaves says Purden dropping out at this stage in the campaign is “regrettable.”
“I was surprised and I felt sorry for him personally, just because he’s put time and effort into it,” he said. “I think anybody that goes forward into this arena, that goes into public service of this kind – it takes courage for those people to get up.”
In terms of his campaign, Hargreaves says he will continue as if he’s running against somebody and adds, he will be available to speak about what he is hoping to achieve as trustee.
A request for comment has been sent to Purden. The story will be updated when more information becomes available.