On January 12, VSB Trustees will be meeting with senior staff to review a draft proposal of the long range facilities plan that will outline how the VSB will reduce 'surplus capacity' within the district over the next 15 years to meet a capacity target of 95%.
This is roughly the equivalent of eliminating 7,000 seats or 280 classrooms.
This proposal must be submitted to the Ministry of Education by January 31, 2016. The Parent Advocacy Network (PAN) has already raised concerns about the negative impact that a 95% capacity will have in terms of the disruption of communities if school closures occur - overcrowding in remaining schools, the inability to serve the future enrollment needs of these communities, the elimination of specialized spaces such as art and music rooms as well as the loss of community supported programs such as Strong Start.
Members of PAN have been in dialogue with the Ministry over these concerns (through letter and conversation), and believe they have made some impact in terms of the Minister recognizing the value of alternative educational spaces other than simply enrolling classrooms. Because of our network connection between schools (we are a very large group of parents, which is powerful), the Ministry is listening to our ‘collective’ voice!
To continue to advocate for the retention of these spaces, we need your input ASAP. This will take 3-5 minutes of your time.
1. Please identify any "purpose-built" music or art spaces in your elementary school, or any rooms being used as such in your school
2. Please also identify any community-based programs - pre-school programs like Strong Start or Adult Ed and any other community programs etc - that use your
elementary or secondary school facilities and are important to your community
Please reply email with the above details
about your school no later than January 9, 2016.
The goal is to bring this collective information forward to the attention of VSB on January 12 and put further pressure on the Ministry to mitigate the negative impact of the capacity mandate.
We would also strongly encourage you to talk with your VSB Trustee liaison to voice your concerns about the potential impact of 95% capacity on your school and community.
Thank you for your prompt attention.
Maggie Milne Martins & Andrea Sinclair (Charles Dickens PAC)
on behalf of PAN
PAN updates and news, partner events, and other timely information relating to public school advocacy in and around Vancouver, BC.