SURREY – The Surrey First brand will continue to extend beyond the council table as Surrey First Education also made a clean sweep to take command of the Surrey Board of Education on election night.
All six candidates from the coalition running for school trustee were voted in Saturday (Nov. 15), putting Surrey First in control of the school district.
Topping the polls was current trustee and board vice-chair Laurie Larsen at 49,442 votes, followed by first-time candidate Bob Holmes with 46,142.
"It’s a wonderful feeling, this is probably the last time I’m running and so I couldn’t have asked for more," said Larsen, who was elected to her third term. "We have such a good team and even though we’re from all kinds of political affiliations we have a really cohesive group."
Holmes, who will now be leaving his post as co-president of Surrey District Parent Advisory Council, said he can’t wait to get to work for the province’s largest school district.
"I’ve been more and more excited about working with this team as the campaign progressed so I’m looking forward to improving things as much as we can," he said. "I’m looking forward to fighting for funding for our district and trying to make the board more open and inclusive to parents if we can, I just want to make it better for our kids."
Current board chair Shawn Wilson came third with 45,931 votes, while Garry Thind and incumbent Terry Allen came in fourth and fifth with 45,424 and 45,931 votes, respectively.
"I think we were doing what the public wanted, and I don’t think myself and the team did anything to betray the public trust, and so we were rewarded by that," said Wilson.
Former trustee and council member Gary Tymoschuk also marked his return to Surrey politics, rounding out the Surrey First Education team with 41,517 votes.
"It’s very exciting to be elected back into office," said Tymoschuk, who noted he heard loud and clear that school funding was the clear issue going into this election. "The issue with school boards is that there’s only so much money and every candidate can only say they’re going to lobby for more money but none of us can actually say we’re going to get more money."
Instead, Tymoschuk said he’s looking forward to working on establishing deeper relationships with parents, the city and most importantly the province, for which the education minister happens to be located right in Surrey.
"It’s all about building those relationships," he said.
The final trustee position on the board will go to independent Laurae McNally, who was acclaimed in White Rock in October.