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Senior staff recommend school closure moratorium

The Vancouver Board of Education should not consider the closure of five elementary schools at this time according to one of nine recommendation from senior staff in the Administrative Report: Public Consultation on School Closures and Recommendations to the Vancouver Board of Education.

The report summarizes the school closure consultation process and feedback received over the past three months. The public consultation process included 10 public meetings, comment forms, correspondence, online feedback and an independent public survey.

The Vancouver Board of Education will formally receive the report Tuesday evening during a joint meeting of Planning & Facilities and Education & Student Services Committees (Committee II and III).

Throughout the school closure consultation process, the Board of Education heard that the public wanted to hear about options other than school closure. There were calls for expanding affordable childcare and for re-thinking the use of our facilities, their future and centrality to the community. There were also many calls of concern that should a closure occur, that communities would suffer and criminal activity could occur on vacant, boarded up school sites.

After careful consideration of all of the information received to date and through the public consultation process, senior staff believe that more needs to be done to vitalize Vancouver public schools as central elements of our neighbourhoods and communities. The district will work with our partners to develop a rich future for our communities and their schools.

The recommendations to the Vancouver Board of Education from the Administrative Report: Public Consultation on School Closures and Recommendations to the Vancouver Board of Education are:

  1. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Vancouver Board of Education not proceed with further closure discussions with respect to the five schools under consideration of potential closure planned for June 30, 2011.
  2. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Vancouver Board of Education place a moratorium on proceeding with any school closure process until March 1, 2012.
  3. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Vancouver Board of Education direct staff to immediately initiate a process to develop a comprehensive plan for sectoral reviews across the school district.  This draft plan of action should be brought to the February Committee II/III meeting.
  4. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Vancouver Board of Education convene a meeting with the City of Vancouver and other agencies to develop strategic partnerships to broaden the community and school use of district facilities.
  5. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Vancouver Board of Education direct staff to determine the feasibility of offering child care spaces within Vancouver schools at no cost to the provider.
  6. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Vancouver Board of Education direct staff to work with the Carleton community to create a Neighbourhood Learning Centre.
  7. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Vancouver Board of Education direct staff to work with the Queen Alexandra school community to strengthen and further develop a project-based multi-cultural Fine Arts focus at the school.
  8. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Vancouver Board of Education direct staff to work with the Aboriginal community to explore a strategic direction for Macdonald Elementary School.
  9. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Vancouver Board of Education seek a meeting with key Ministry of Education staff to explore further possibilities for Neighbourhood Learning Centres, and the establishment of an agreement to form a Capital Assets Project Management Office within the Vancouver School District to facilitate rapid and coordinated action on approved projects, seismic upgrades and new capital projects.

The report will be formally presented to trustees at a joint meeting of Committees II/III on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom, Education Centre, 1580 West Broadway.

Related information:

The Vancouver Board of Education commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct a public opinion survey on the topic of school closures. Read the full survey report.

For more information about the school closure consultation process, see: www.vsb.bc.ca/school-closures

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