When is small small enough to close a school?

When is small, too small?  When does preserving small schools start to equal undermining medium to large size schools?  Irrespective of the merits of having pleasant small, neighbourhood schools where your children and one or two of her/his best friends attend, what are the demerits of keeping schools open.  Small school struggles in Vancouver, as opposed to small-school struggles in rural areas, seem to be about preserving boutique experiences for parents able and willing to spend the time to campaign and lobby.  In her education blog for the Vancouver Courier, Naoibh O’Conner talks about the Garabaldi Annex situation.  Charged with increasing enrolment to a minimum of 77 from 41, the school has achieved 58 students in two years of work.

The future of the Garibaldi annex is up for debate again.

The East Side kindergarten to Grade 4 school at 1025 Slocan St. faced closure in 2008 because of its dwindling student population, which stood at 41 that year. It has room for 165 students.

Parents rallied to save the elementary, arguing the prospect of closure was scaring families away from registering.

The Vancouver School Board agreed to keep it open until September 2010 if it attracted at least 36 more students. In September 2008, enrolment grew from 41 to 49, then to 58 in 2009. That’s still short of the 77 students needed to meet the school board’s expectation.

The cost of keeping its doors open is $114,742, according to school board staff. Read the full comment here: Class Notes: Closing time?

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