Stop School Closures and Consolidation in Vancouver

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RE: Long Range Facilities Plan

Dear Minister Fleming, Trustees of the Vancouver Board of Education, and VSB Staff:

The Templeton Secondary School community applauds the Board of Education for removing Recommendation 12 from the LRFP.  We see this as a first step toward a more creative and citizen-centred approach to a Facilities Plan and overall facilities management that will reverse the erosion of our schools and the negative impacts of the constant threat of closures and consolidations.

The next step would be for you to delay your vote on the LRFP until such time that “robust community consultation” has been conducted.

In addition, we expect that any LRFP approved by the Board should:

  • be based on complete data including enrolment numbers that take into account projected development and growth (for example in the Templeton catchment area);
  • use criteria consistent with modern educational and social realities for assessing how space is currently utilized in schools;
  • be consistent with stated Ministry of Education and Vancouver Board of Education values around the importance of neighbourhood schools and the new LRFP Guidelines’ focus on creative usage of school space, such as for child care, seniors’ centres, StrongStart programs, family resource centres, and health care services;
  • confirm that closures and consolidations will not be a consideration in future revisions; and
  • take into account the results of a robust and meaningful consultation with the affected communities.

We also acknowledge the Ministry of Education’s recent revisions to the Long Range Facility Plan Guidelines and have every expectation that the Ministry will further commit to this partnership with school districts by:

  • funding education at a level that allows for seismic upgrades for ALL Vancouver schools and provides for ongoing maintenance of ageing facilities without necessitating cuts to education and support programs or staffing;
  • working to reverse the damage done by previous harmful cuts to education funding so that our schools can fulfil the critical role they must play in sustaining British Columbia's competitive advantage, society and culture. 

In this regard, we believe all existing schools should be funded to thrive and serve their constituencies effectively.  In short, the primary focus of the Ministry of Education and the VSB should be on investing in students and schools rather than on closing and consolidating schools.