Late Friday afternoon, a month after Ministry of Education staff put the U Hill rebuilding plan on hold, Liberal MLA Colin Hansen announced a major infrastructure program for Vancouver School Board that includes rebuilding U Hill Secondary and constructing a new elementary school.
We are all appreciative of this announcement. It’s been a long time coming. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to the hard work of designing and building our renewed community schools.
As members of the current Parents Advisory Council we want to say a very special and loud thank you to the many parents past and present who have lobbied, argued, emailed, discussed, pushed, prayed, begged, pleaded, and just plain believed that someday our children and our community’s needs would be responded to. We want to also thank school administrators, like former U Hill principal Jill Philipchuk, who worked with parents, staff, and senior administrators to keep the pressure on. It is also important to recognize the work of current and former school board trustees who worked hard on this issue: Kevin Milsip and Alan Wong (COPE), Carol Gibson and Ken Denike (NPA), and more recently former DPAC and PAC activist and current Board Chair, Patti Bacchus (Vision). Without the combined effort of politicians, administrators, staff, and parents the results of our education system would be much poorer.
We must, however, remember that this is a problem that we have all known about for close to a decade. There have been plans and approvals and pauses all along the way. Several cohorts of parent volunteers have grown tired trying to explain over and over again that schools are needed. We hope that for the future whom ever is in provincial office will change the way in which schools are planned and built so that real needs are met when they exist, not years after they have shifted from minor headache to major problem.