The Vancouver School Board announced this afternoon that six elementary schools, four annexes and two high schools, 12 in total, could potentially close in the city.
As a result, schools under capacity may be closing. The closures are a result of pressure to meet provincial capacity standards as the board strives to meet a district-wide capacity of 95 per cent.
VSB chair Mike Lombardi said if all 12 schools were closed, it would save the VSB $8.8 million a year. The list of potential schools closing are:
- Queen Elizabeth annex
- Champlain heights annex
- Tecumseh annex
- Mcbride annex
- Seymour elementary
- Bruce elementary
- Carleton elementary
- Queen Alexandra
- Trudeau elementary
- Britannia secondary
- Gladstone secondary
Lombardi said this is the first stage of the process and the list is a preliminary one for potential school closures. The next stage will involve a comprehensive school report based on a set of criteria that will look at all the dynamics and specifics around each particular school on the preliminary list. That report will be prepared over the summer by all stakeholders and delivered to school trustees in December 2016.
WATCH: Which Vancouver schools could close?
From there, Lombardi said the trustees will decide whether a school will come off the list. If a school is designated to close, it would be effective as of September 1, 2017.
At Carleton Elementary, one of the historic buildings will shut down this summer and remain locked for 2016-17 school year. Students will be transferred to the brick building next door.
WATCH: Vancouver-Kingsway NDP MLA Adrian Dix talks to Global News about the impact of the school board’s anticipated closures on some neighbourhood schools:
Up to 21 Vancouver schools could close over the next 14 years.
Education Minister Mike Bernier said in a statement that schools are not closing due to a lack of funding.
“Schools are closing because of a lack of students. Since 2001 enrolment has dropped by more than 10% in Vancouver — by 6,200 students. At the same time funding has gone up more than 20%. As well with our May 31 announcement that districts would be able to redirect Administrative Savings to front-line education services – this coming school year and moving forward. In Vancouver this provided $2,251,318.”
“We’re investing a record $5.1 billion in public education this year. Annual education funding is $1.2 billion higher than it was in 2000/01 – a 32% increase.”
Vancouver-Kingsway NDP MLA, Adrian Dix, said the provincial government is using this opportunity to distract from the “real issues.”