All district facilities are regularly reviewed and assessed to ensure they are being utilized for efficient and effective delivery of a comprehensive educational program and associated services. Any school may be considered for closure when such an assessment:
(a) Identifies that the students could reasonably be accommodated in other local schools, and
(b) Those students can be provided with access to appropriate educational programs.
If a school is being considered for closure, then the following process will apply:
1. The District Management Team will prepare a preliminary list of schools that might be considered for closure, and publish that list (the “Potential Consideration for Closure Notice”) on the VSB website and in a letter to the school principals and PACs of each school on the list, all at least two months’ prior to finalizing an administrative report to the Board, to give affected parties advance notice of the consultation process that will apply if the Board decides to consider those or any other schools for closure.
2. At least two months after the Potential Consideration for Closure Notice has been posted, the District Management Team will finalize its administrative report detailing which schools it recommends to be considered for closure, and present the administrative report to a joint meeting of Board Standing Committee II - Planning & Facilities and Standing Committee III - Education and Student Services.
3. If consideration for closure is supported by the joint committee, then such recommendation will be forwarded to the Board for a decision at the next available board meeting or a special meeting called for the Board to consider closing one or more of the schools recommended for closure in the administrative report.
4. Any school that the Board decides to consider for closure will be identified by name and the school so notified.
5. If consideration for closure is supported by the Board, then at least one public meeting is to be scheduled to allow communication and consultation prior to a final determination being made by the Board. At least 14 calendar days prior to the public meeting:
(a) notice of the public meeting(s) is to be posted on the VSB website;
(b) notice is to be advertised in the appropriate local media;
(c) at least one sign is to be posted at the main entrance to the school and at other appropriate locations to advise the school community and the public;
(d) all signs are to be in the appropriate majority languages of the school community; and
(e) the school will provide written notification to the Parent Advisory Committee and parents of students enrolled at the school.
6. Appropriate mechanisms will be provided within the consultation process to allow feedback from affected school communities, internal VSB stakeholders and the public prior to a final decision on closure being made. No less than fourteen (14) calendar days will be allowed for the receipt of responses following a public meeting.
7. The District Management Team will coordinate a consultation report summarizing the results of each public meeting to a joint meeting of Committee II and Committee III. The consultation report shall include, at a minimum:
(a) a fair consideration of the community’s input;
(b) consideration of future enrolment growth in the district of persons of school age, persons of less than school age and adults; and
(c) consideration of possible alternative community use for all or part of the school.
8. Additional consultation may be undertaken if the Board in its discretion determines that relevant circumstances are substantially different from those considered by the District Management Team.
9. Consultation will be re-initiated under Section 4 above if a school not named in the Potential Consideration for Closure Notice is proposed for closure in a consultation report.
10. Final decisions on a school closure will be made by the Board, and will include, without limitation, the considerations listed in Section 7 above. A decision to close a school will only be made by bylaw.
11. If the Board decides to permanently close a school, then the Board will, without delay, provide the Minister of Education with written notification of the decision and the school’s name, facility number, address and the date on which the school will close.
12. A decision to close a school will be communicated to the school and the general public as soon as practical following the Board decision. The school will then ensure written notice is provided to the Parent Advisory Committee and parents of students enrolled in the school. The district will provide instructions to parents on relocation options for all students affected by a school closure.
Effective Dates for School Closures
If a school is being considered for closure, the schedule for consultation will generally be organized such that a decision can be made no later than December, permitting a closure to occur at the end of the current school year. This permits:
(a) Notice to parents and the public prior to registration for the next school year (in January);
(b) Actual school closures to take effect at the end of a school year (June 30);
(c) Adequate time to notify other users of the school i.e. childcare, leases, rentals, summer school programs, etc.;
(d) If it is not practical to meet the above schedule, approval from the Board will be sought to permit closure to take effect on some other date, typically over the winter break (December/January). In this case:
(i) The closure process as outlined above will be followed;
(ii) The schedule for consultation will be organized such that the final decision by the Board can be made no later than June 30th of the calendar year the school is closed; and
(iii) The school would close on a date to be determined by the Board.
(e) Where by virtue of a decline in enrollment a school does not register any students or, in the opinion of the Superintendent, registers insufficient students to practically offer an educational program in the school, then the Board will follow the consultation process described in paragraphs 1 through 12 above and the school may be closed on any day determined by the Board.