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Trustees support school closure moratorium

Vancouver Board of Education Trustees have decided to not consider further the potential closure of five elementary schools planned for June 30, 2011.

At the open board meeting of Dec. 14, 2010, trustees adopted a dozen motions stemming from the Administrative Report of the Public Consultation on School Closures and Recommendations to the Board of Education.

The full set of motions include: 

1) 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) That the Vancouver Board of Education place a moratorium on proceeding with any school closure process until March 1, 2012.
 
3) 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. Such sectoral reviews shall be based on protecting or improving the quality of education as a primary motivation. This draft plan of action should be brought to the February Committee II/III meeting.

4) That the Vancouver Board of Education convene a meeting with the City of Vancouver and other agencies to develop strategic public partnerships to broaden the community and school use of district facilities.
 
5) 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) That the Vancouver Board of Education direct staff to work with the Carleton community to create a Neighbourhood Learning Centre.
 
7) 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) That the Vancouver Board of Education direct staff to work with the community, and in reference to the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement, to explore a strategic direction for Macdonald Elementary School.
 
9) 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.

10) That the Vancouver Board of Education develop a long-term school strategy in order to encourage neighbourhood attendance at local schools.  The strategy will be developed in consultation with school communities.
 
11) That in developing this strategy that the VSB investigate the possible roles of independent schools, demographic shifts, catchment boundary changes, school choice, the placement of District (magnet) programs, and systemic discrimination (such as racism) in the variation in enrolment between schools.

12) That the Vancouver Board of Education send the "Administrative Report: Public Consultation on School Closures" with accompanying letter emphasizing the specific concerns (i.e. provincial funding shortfall, neighbourhood schools should be the hub of the community and support for Aboriginal and vulnerable students) we heard from the parents and school communities to the Minister of Education, candidates for the leader of the Opposition Party, Opposition Education critic, Liberal leadership candidates and all Vancouver area MLAs. Further, that the VBE invite them to provide a reaction to the parent and community concerns.

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