Vancouver School Summer Closure to be Permanent???

Vancouver School board seems to be getting ready to close their schools. But this isn’t the normal summer closure. A quiet facilities review that has been underway appears poised to initiated permanent school closures. Questions remain as to what will happen to the school property. Previous Vancouver School Boards have sold or leased closed schools. But even more important is the impact that closing a neighbourhood school might have for the children and families that form it’s community.

Update, June 23, 2006:
Garabaldi School parents met with VSB staff June 22 to discuss a possible school closure with VSB staff. Tom Grant, district staff member responsible, gave the parents a “heads-up” that the Trustees will likely commence to “community discussion” starting in September (although they have not confirmed this). The meeting with the parents is reported to have gone reasonably wel. It is hoped that the community will start working on recruiting more students to the school to keep the numbers high enough to “sustain” the school. It sounds like the kindergarten classes in the next two years are slated to be on the higher side.

VSB closing Garibaldi Elementary School by subterfuge: Vancouver Elemtary Teachers Association press release.

“Vancouver elementary teachers are very upset by the Vancouver School Board’s planned closure of Garibaldi Elementary School,” says Mary McDermott, President of the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association.

Parents of Garibaldi School have been invited to a special meeting tonight with VSB management to discuss the future of their children’s school.

“The VSB is doing this by subterfuge,” says Mary McDermott. “There is a proper, six-month process whereby trustees can close schools after consulting with parents and the public. Instead, management is being sent out ahead of time to offer their assistance in ‘facilitating’ children’s transition to another school. What parent would keep their child registered in a school that is likely to close? This circumvents the whole process.”

Mary McDermott says that the VSB should be making every effort to keep Garibaldi open. “This school is in a safe neighbourhood location, with a warm and welcoming staff, and ideal class sizes. The programs are built around personal, friendly relations between children, parents, and staff. We need to maintain and support our small, community-minded schools – not dismantle them.”

Garibaldi has a significant ESL and aboriginal population, and has close ties to the community.

VESTA President Mary McDermott is worried that other school closures that have been hinted at taking place in Vancouver over the next few years will also circumvent the process. “Major decisions like this which affect children and families need to be made transparently, with the best interests of children in mind. Education needs to be funded properly so that excellent learning facilities like Garibaldi stay open.”

Source: CNW Group