Chairwoman of Greater Victoria School Board announces resignation on Twitter

The chairwoman of the Greater Victoria School Board announced her resignation from the position in a message on Twitter late Tuesday.

“This is not a step I thought I would be taking, but I recognize the importance of aligning my values with my actions,” Jordan Watters wrote in a five-part post.

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Watters, who calls herself an “unapologetic lefty” and “grateful uninvited guest” in Lekwungen territory on Twitter, said she is honouring the wishes of what she called the Four Houses — the Songhees Nation, Esquimalt Nation, Métis and urban Indigenous community — who have asked her to resign.

“I hope my resignation, demonstrates my commitment to reconciliation & to healing the relationships between the district & the Indigenous communities we serve,” she wrote.

She said the past year has been “very challenging on many levels,” and the board has had to face some “hard truths” when it comes to its commitment to reconciliation with local Indigenous peoples.

The board went through a difficult spring after proposing controversial cuts to music programs in order to balance the district’s budget for the next school year. It eventually balanced the budget with the help of contingency funds, but not before provoking ongoing and vocal protests.

In May, it postponed budget deliberations “in respect and solidarity for the overwhelming grief being experienced by the Indigenous community,” after unmarked graves were discovered at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Watters said she will continue to work as a school trustee, and a new board chair and vice-chair will be elected at a public Zoom meeting on Monday.

Attempts to reach Watters for comment were unsuccessful.

In November, Watters, who has been a trustee since 2014, won her third one-year term as chairwoman of the Greater Victoria School Board.

The district is the Island’s largest, with more than 20,000 students and 47 schools spanning six municipalities, and also serves the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations.

parrais@timescolonist.com

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