The Vancouver School Board suspends school closure process indefinitely

The Vancouver School Board is suspending the school-closure process indefinitely, after a number of staff took medical leaves, leaving the organization without the capacity to move forward.

VSB suspends school-closure process indefinitely

We are certain this issue is not over but we have received a reprieve for now. Thanks to the community for pulling together to get our issues raised and tell the Trustees and government how we feel. I hope we can find a good resolution to our dilemma. It has not been an easy process for any of us.

thanks!

McBride Annex key issues

The parents and PAC of McBride Annex have been pulling together to challenge the statistics and projections for our school. See our 13 page document of detailed remarks to School Board on potential closing of McBride Annex. This document was delivered prior to the Sept 26 meeting and should be referred to an expanded on in our speaking notes and time slots for November 2.

The more we can refute the numbers of the VSB, as well as provide constructive solutions to their tough decision, the more we have a chance to be funded to stay open – as well as other annexes in a similar situation.

Download the 20160926_mcbride_annex_pac_remarks_for_vsb_v1_1 here.

Key points include:

1. Community
2. Data & Trends

  1. Enrollment Annex & Pre-School
  2. Demographics
  3. Request for better data
  4. Zoning & Density

3. Outlook

  1. Overcrowding at Main School
  2. Loss of Social Hub site
  3. Effect on other schools
  4. Savings are small

 

School Closure Consultations

Public consultations for the schools being considered for closure will take place from October 12 to November 18, 2016. These consultations are governed by VSB policy and the School Act. (“Potential Consideration for Closure”).

There are three ways you can participate in the process and provide your feedback:

1) Online Feedback

The best way to have your thoughts captured is to complete the formal online feedback form. This is the same feedback form which will be made available at in-person events as well, ensuring all parents and members of the community have equal opportunity to participate. As per VSB policy, feedback cannot be received until the start of the consultation period. The form will be available online starting October 12.

2) Community Town Hall Meetings

If you wish to express your views, ideas or concerns about school closures more publicly, please attend one of three community town hall meetings. Trustee will be on hand to hear from you in person. If you wish to speak at one of the town hall meetings, you must register to do so in advance. Registration will be open on October 1st, and will be found on this page.

Note: Registration is only required for speakers. General attendees are not required to register in advance.

Date Time Location/ Register to speak
October 15 11:00am – 3:00pm Vancouver Technical Secondary
October 23 11:00am – 3:00pm Gladstone Secondary
October 29 11:00am – 3:00pm John Oliver Secondary

3) School-Specific Consultation Sessions

Affected families and communities are invited to attend school-specific consultation sessions. These sessions will provide an opportunity for families and communities to understand the factors that were reviewed and assessed for their school.

To ensure all affected families and communities have an opportunity to participate, you are asked to register online in advance for a timeslot. Registration will be open to the public on October 1st on this page.

Our McBride Annex school specific meeting is on November 2, 2016 from 5pm and on. Meeting will take place at Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School, 419 East 24th Avenue.

All feedback is to be received by November 18th.

 

McBride Annex confirmed for closure consideration and Public Consultation

On September 26, 2016 trustees voted to confirm the following list of schools for closure consideration:

  • Queen Elizabeth Annex
  • Champlain Heights Annex
  • Tecumseh Annex
  • McBride Annex
  • Dr. A. R. Lord Elementary
  • Admiral Seymour Elementary
  • Graham D. Bruce Elementary
  • Sir Guy Carleton Elementary
  • Queen Alexandra Elementary
  • Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary
  • Gladstone Secondary

As recommended by the Planning and Facilities/Education Committee, trustees also decided to remove Britannia Secondary from consideration of closure.

Trustees passed an amendment to consider the closure of Dr. A.R. Lord Elementary only under the condition that students not be moved to Begbie Elementary, which has a higher seismic risk rating, until it is seismically upgraded.

As a result of this decisiom, VSB is moving forward with consultations with affected families and communities of these schools. The consultation period will take place from October 12 to November 18. Information about the specific consultation opportunities and events that will take place during the consultation period will be posted on this website soon.

Administrative Reports on each school, as well as an overall strategic report on potential school closures, are available on this website under list of schools. The administrative reports provide trustees, the school community, and the public with detailed information to support discussion, consultation, and decision-making regarding potential school closures.

In December trustees will decide whether any schools will be closed. The earliest any school closure would take effect is June 30, 2017 (for the 2017-18 school year). The process of deciding school closures is governed by VSB policy and the School Act. (“Potential Consideration for Closure”).

For more information about the school closure consultation process please see:

Facebook Page

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-11-33-50-pm
Thanks to our team for setting up a facebook page to gather awareness of the plight of public schools and our Annex in particular. Share the group and help to gather support for our cause. We all count!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1487150691311443/

Feel free to post and generate discussion.

 

Download our new campaign poster and share
saveourschools_posters2016_mcbride

Public Meeting September 26th

We have been informed that we can speak at this meeting at Sept 26th, 7pm in the Tupper Gym.

This is where they decide to finalize who is on the closures list. The VSB is allowing a short Q&A period, where all schools will be able to ask the VSB questions. Each school will be given around 5 minutes to do so. If they were to give unclear answers or state something that is disagreeable, we may also retaliate with some additional responses. If you are able to speak and can ask some informed questions, please do!

Location

Tupper Secondary School (large gym), 419 East 24th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

Agenda to be posted September 23rd
https://www.vsb.bc.ca/calendars-events/board-meeting-134

 

Public Meetings Sept 15 and 26

The meetings on September 15 and 26 are public meetings (anyone can attend), but there will be no opportunity to speak.  If the Annex is short listed for closure, further meetings with the affected communities will be scheduled AFTER October 11.  It will be at these meetings in October and November where people’s opinions can be heard.
If you are interested in attending the meeting in September, here is the pertinent information:
  • September 155 pm at Charles Tupper Secondary (gym), Vancouver
  • September 265 pm at at Charles Tupper Secondary (gym), Vancouver

As well, the most up to date information about the process can be found at engage.vsb.bc.ca.

  • The VSB Trustees encourage us to support the VSB in its advocacy efforts to secure additional funding and to eliminate the arbitrary 95% capacity utilization target.
  • Please communicate with the Premier, Minister of Education, and your MLA about these matters and to copy VSB trustees on our messages.

Contact information for the Premier, Minister of Education, and Vancouver-area MLAs:
https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members/40th-Parliament/Clark-Christy
https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members/40th-Parliament/Bernier-Mike

Contact information for Vancouver-Area MLAs:
http://www.vsb.bc.ca/about-vsb/trustees/advocacy-work/mla-contacts

Contact information for VSB trustees:
GroupTrustees@vsb.bc.ca

Start writing letters!

Dear Community of McBride Annex,

Now is the time to let the Vancouver School Board know we care about our school. Let your MLA, Mabel Elmore and the school trustees know your opinion. It’s the only thing that will sway our status on the closure list. Below is a sample letter from one of our parents and PAC Members. Use this as a guide or follow one of our pdf templates (download the mcbride_letter for parents, and/or use the mcbride_letter_kids_large ) to make your voice heard. Don’t forget to sign our petition that Lilli Wong (Kindergarten parent and Little Mountain Daycare attendee) is currently circulating.

Our hope is that for the next month, our school community can develop a strong voice speaking out against the closure of the Annex.  We need to involve parents of past, current, and future students.  As well, it is important to include the rest of the community at large because having a vacant school in the middle of our neighbourhood is detrimental to our community.  Further, we want to ensure the preschool at the Annex is not negatively impacted as well.

>>>>>>>

Sample Letter to Trustees:

I am writing to you as a parent of a McBride Annex student, as a member of the Kensington community, and as a Vancouverite who was born and raised in this city.

Growing up in Vancouver, I attended public school.  I had the benefit of an excellent education, during which I was taught by amazing teachers and also was able to experience numerous extracurricular activities in the schools I attended.  In my opinion, closing any school in the City of Vancouver is short-sighted and will have a grave detrimental impact on public education in our city.  The City of Vancouver is a fast-growing metropolis in which the word ‘densification’ is used daily in the media, at City Hall, and amongst its residents.  We should be opening more schools in the neighbourhoods where that growth is happening, which bring me to my next point.  Even if some schools are deemed necessary for closure, I feel the VSB needs to look closely at reliable, proven statistics to determine where children are living in this city and to keep the schools open in those communities. 

McBride Annex should absolutely not be on any school closure list.  The Kensington neighbourhood is one of the most fastest growing, family-oriented neighbourhoods in this city.  On every street block, there are numerous children living and playing within their community.  Children should be able to go to a school in their community because that is one of the key elements in developing and prospering the types of neighbourhoods for which Vancouver is known.  There is a wait list for the Annex – this, in and of itself, proves a need for more space in schools in our catchment, not a reduction.

The Annex is also unique because there is a preschool within the school.  This preschool, for the most part, is an introduction to school for future Annex students.  We need to ensure this excellent, well respected and sought after preschool continues to operate within the Annex.

The Annex has very strong parent participation.  Our PAC raises significant amounts of money to support the Annex each year.  Furthermore, through the tireless work of current parents at the school and our former vice principal, a few years ago, we raised enough money to build a new playground at the school.  This was solely through community support and involvement.

All in all, the Annex is the heart of our community.  I am writing to not only urge you to protect the education of students in Vancouver as a whole; but to also consider the Kensington community in particular.  This is a catchment where schools should not be closed.  If McBride Annex was to close, it would be an overwhelming loss to the both current and future students and the community.

>>>>>>

VSB Trustees:

Mike Lombardi – mike.lombardi@vsb.bc.ca
Janet Fraser – Janet.fraser@vsb.bc.ca
Allan Wong – allan.wong@vsb.bc.ca
Christopher Richardson – christopher.richardson@vsb.bc.ca
Fraser Ballantyne – fraser.ballantyne@vsb.bc.ca
Joy Alexanderjoy.alexander@vsb.bc.ca
Patti Bacchus – patti.bacchus@vsb.bc.ca
Penny Noble – penny.noble@vsb.bc.ca
Stacy Robertson – stacy.robertson@vsb.bc.ca

Please note that Joy Alexander is our trustee liaison.

VSB info

Learn more at the VSB website

VSB recognizes that the prospect of school closures will create anxiety and uncertainty within school communities. As the process evolves, VSB will provide as much information as possible.

Information about the school closure process, including the preliminary list of schools that might be considered for closure, is available in the following documents and below:

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McBride Annex has been identified as being a potential closure school for September 2017.

We need your help to rally to save the school.

Once a list is presented to trustees VSB policy requires 60 days notice be provided to each affected school community. Staff, parents and other community members would then have many chances to share their perspectives and concerns with trustees before any decisions are made. After consultation with each school community and careful consideration by trustees the earliest any school could be closed would be September 2017.