12 Vancouver schools identified for potential closure

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Four annexes, six elementary schools, and two secondary schools in Vancouver may be shut down.

      If all 12 schools are closed starting in school year 2017-2018, the Vancouver school board will able to save $8.8 million per year.

      Board chair Mike Lombardi released the list and where students will be accommodated in a media briefing Monday (June 2). A map of where the schools are located appears below.

      1. Queen Elizabeth Annex. If approved, the Kindergarten to Grade 3 students will have spaces at Queen Elizabeth Elementary.

      2. Champlain Heights Annex. If approved, Kindergarten to Grade 3 students can attend Champlain Heights Elementary.

      3. Tecumseh Annex. If approved, Kindergarten to Grade 3 students will have spots at Tecumseh Elementary.

      4. McBride Annex. If approved, Kindergarten to Grade 3 students can go McBride Elementary.

      5. Dr. A.R. Lord Elementary. If approved, students can transfer to Begbie Elementary.

      6. Admiral Seymour Elementary. If approved, students can go to Strathcona Elementary. This can only happen in school year 2018-2019 after seismic upgrades are done in Strathcona.

      7. Graham D. Bruce Elementary. If approved, students can attend Grenfell Elementary and Collingwood Annex.

      8. Sir Guy Carleton Elementary. If approved, students can be accommodated at Cunningham Elementary and MacCorkindale Elementary.

      9. Queen Alexandra Elementary. If approved, students can attend Grandview Elementary and Florence Nightingale Elementary.

      10. Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary. If approved, students can go to Walter Moberly Elementary.

      11. Britannia Secondary. If approved, students will have spaces at Templeton Secondary.

      12. Gladstone Secondary. If approved, students will have spaces at Windermere Secondary, Vancouver Technical Secondary, John Oliver Secondary, and Tupper Secondary.

      At the media briefing, Lombardi stressed that the list is a preliminary one.

      School district staff will prepare a detailed report in September, and at this point, the board will decide which schools will be subject to further consideration.

      Public consultations will be held in the fall, and the board will decide in December this year which schools will be closed.

      The earliest school closure could happen in school year 2017-2018.

      On May 24, the board adopted a long-range facilities plan to increase the district's utilization of its school spaces from the current 85 percent level to 95 percent.

      The board has to meet the 95 percent target in order to get money from the province to upgrade schools for earthquakes.

      The long-range plan provides that up to 21 schools may be closed until the year 2030.

      These include three school annexes that will not have students in the next school year of 2016-2017. These are the Laurier Annex, Maquinna Annex, and Henderson Annex.

      Lombardi said that school closures may happen because the province doesn't provide adequate funding for education.

      "The probem is underfunding," Lombardi said. "We have got in British Columbia ...  the most prosperous province in Canada ... the second lowest per people funding [for education] in Canada. That’s not good enough. Parents have told us B.C. can do better and were going to be advocating for our fair share."

      In a statement, Education Minister Mike Bernier noted that there are 6,500 vacant student spaces in Vancouver.

      "Every dollar spent keeping an empty seat open is a dollar that is not spent on teachers or on educating students," Bernier said.

      According to Bernier, it costs $37 million a year to keep to these empty seats open.

      The B.C. Liberal minister also recalled that while enrollment in Vancovuer has been dropping since 2001, funding for the district has increased by 20 percent.

      According to Bernier, the 95 percent utilization target was agreed upon by the school district and the province.

      "I am looking forward to working with the Vancouver School District as it finalizes its long-term facilities plan," the education minister said. "This plan is a road map forward so the district has more money for student services, not empty seats, and together we can further advance seismic upgrade in schools that have a long-term future."