School district flags have been flying at half-mast since Friday in honour of Kelowna school trustee Rolli Cacchioni, who suddenly died from a stroke last week. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

Kelowna trustee byelection date faces June 26 deadline

Election will fill vacant school board seat left by the death of Rolli Cacchioni

A byelection to fill a vacant Kelowna school trustee seat on the Central Okanagan Board of Education will be held before the end of the school year.

The trustees approved the byelection as a last minute agenda item for Wednesday’s board meeting because the next meeting won’t be until April 14 due to the upcoming two-week spring break.

The seat was left open by the sudden passing of trustee Rolli Cacchioni who suffered a stroke last week.

Rolli Cacchioni

Ryan Stierman, secretary-treasurer/CFO of Central Okanagan Public Schools, told trustees under the School Act the district is legally bound to hold a byelection to replace Cacchioni, as the vacancy has occurred prior to Jan. 1, 2022.

READ MORE: Long-time Kelowna educator, community figure dies

The next provincial municipal and school board elections will be in October 2022.

“The latest we can have a byelection prior to the end of this school term is June 26 so there is some urgency here (to not delay a byelection decision until the next board meeting),” Stierman said.

He said the school district will work with the City of Kelowna to set up the byelection, adding the school district will seek a provincial order to also allow mail-in ballot voting.

“It would be similar to mail-in balloting that was approved for school board byelections already held in Chilliwack and Langley this year,” Stierman noted.

Board of education chair Moyra Baxter shared her thoughts to start the board meeting about the loss of Cacchioni, noting she first met him when her youngest son was attending high school.

“When I joined the board as a trustee he was a school principal, and then he was elected to the board. For some time I always had trouble not referring to him as Mr. Cacchioni. It took awhile to be comfortable calling him trustee Cacchioni at meetings or Rolli in private conversation,” Baxter recalled.

“He was committed to service of his students, his colleagues and his community at large. There is a profound sadness felt by many throughout the Okanagan with his passing.

“We will miss Rolli and we will not forget him.”

Baxter added the school district plans to send a plaque to Cacchioni’s wife Mary and his surviving family in recognition of his service to public education in the Central Okanagan.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the Cacchioni family has established the Rolli Cacchioni Memorial Award through the Central Okanagan Bursary and Scholarship Society (COBSS).

Donations can be made in two ways:

• By cheque payable to COBSS – indicate that it is for the Rolli Cacchioni Memorial Award
• By etransfer – cobss@shaw.ca with a separate email to say it is for the Rolli Cacchioni Memorial Award
People can also send their condolences and happy memories to rollicacchionilegacy@gmail.com