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 Vancouver School Board plans to sell and lease back equipment to reduce costs

The Vancouver School Board is considering a plan to sell some of its assets–from electronics to furniture–and lease them back in an effort to ease a projected $27-million shortfall this year.

The plan is to sell the equipment to a leasing company that will then lease them back to the school board in multi-year contracts.

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VSB Chairperson Christopher Richardson says the plan will save money in the short-term, but increase long-term costs.

“It’s like taking your home mortgage and saying, ‘Well, it’s a little bit tight this year, I’m a little bit pressed for cash, why don’t I remortgage the house?,” he said. “There would be a refinancing cost to that and I would have to pay that over a longer period of time.”

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READ MORE: Vancouver School Board dips into reserves to save some programs

Between the lease-back program and other funds, the school board hopes to cut its deficit to $15 million.

Richardson, who is a certified accountant, says a more permanent solution is needed.

“It should be obvious to anyone that we have a structural deficit. The structure has a deficit. We’re going to have address that and eliminate that. The stress of every year having a deficit of $25 million just isn’t healthy.”

-With files from Ted Chernecki