Petition: Save Queen Elizabeth Annex and Support Public Education in British Columbia

queen-elizabeth-school-annex-vsb(Updated with correction – meeting tonight is 7 pm.)

Queen Elizabeth Annex is on the list for possible closure (see summary report and full report, PDF). This would be very first French immersion school to close in Vancouver. Families are circulating an online petition (see below) to save that school and support public education.

Parents say there is no legitimate reason to close this school and that official numbers presented do not make sense. It is a full and thriving French immersion school, but happens to be sitting on four acres of land in Dunbar. There is some speculation that the ultimate reason for this school being on the list is that “someone” wants the part of the property to be liquidated for profits and development.

Here is what the Vancouver School Board officially says it might do with such lands:

Q: Will VSB sell schools?
A: No entire school properties will be sold. The Board has approved a motion to not sell entire school sites. This does not preclude long-term leases, land swaps or sales of portions of school properties.
(http://engage.vsb. bc.ca/faq/school-closures-faq/)

According to media, School District #39 trustees (Vancouver School Board) are set to examine detailed reports about possible school closures at a BOARD meeting at 7 pm today (September 26, 2016, at Tupper Secondary School, at 419 East 24th Ave, in the large gym. Apparently, agenda – Item VI – consideration of Cmtee II/III recommendations). There has been a lot of media coverage regarding the pressure from the provincial government for school boards to close schools, but for reference and links to reports, see our Sept. 13 post “Detailed reports on schools proposed for closure – now available from VSB.”

Anyone interested, please visit the link below for the petition.

PETITION: Save Queen Elizabeth Annex and Support Public Education in British Columbia
https://www.change.org/p/vancouver-school-board-save-queen-elizabeth-annex-and-support-public-education-in-british-columbia

The Trustees of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) will be meeting in the coming days to decide on closures of 11 public schools, including Queen Elizabeth Annex (QEA). We want to inform the VSB and the Provincial government that school closures are not an acceptable solution to massive underfunding of our public school system.

Please sign this Petition to save QEA and support public education in British Columbia.  Please forward to alumni, French immersion networks, and community.

Issues:

Chronic underfunding of our public school system

The VSB estimates it will save $7.7 million per year in operating costs by closing schools in Vancouver. Closing QEA will result in an annual savings of only $188 thousand per year. Provincial funding for public schools in British Columbia has fallen almost$1000/student below the Canadian average. There has been a 25% decline in school funding in the last 15 years. Operating grants alone have dropped by $2 billion/year.

While the public school system is struggling, private school funding has been rapidly increasing and is projected to reach $350 million in the 2016/17 school year. Up to 50% of private school tuition is publicly funded, a practice opposed by three quarters of British Columbians. BC has the economic resources to invest and prioritise public education, having recently announced a surplus close to $2 billion.

The importance of Queen Elizabeth Annex (QEA) and French Immersion

Small schools like QEA are important in a community because they offer a close-knit environment for families, security for children, reduced bullying, support for special needs, sensory-sensitive and high anxiety children.  In addition, QEA’s one storey structure provides accessible classrooms for students of all abilities.

QEA would be the very first French Immersion school to close in Vancouver. Currently QEA’s kindergarten program is waitlisted even with the threat of imminent closure.  There is growing demand for French immersion education across the district. The chronic shortage of French immersion teachers in BC can only be met by supporting thriving French immersion schools.

We the undersigned, call on the Provincial government of British Columbia to increase funding of public schools to ensure a thriving public school system that enables schools to stay open to meet the needs of children, their families and communities.

We, the undersigned, call on the Vancouver School Board to keep Queen Elizabeth Annex open, in light of the high demand for French immersion education in our community, the waitlist for spaces, and the needs of many of the young children who require the environment that only a small Annex can provide.

Petition addressed to…

  • Vancouver School Board – Mike Lombardi
  • Minister of Education – Mike Bernier
  • Premier of British Columbia – Christy Clark

 

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REFERENCES

Vancouver School Board (Vancouver Board of Education)
http://www.vsb.bc.ca/

Frequently Asked Questions
http://engage.vsb.bc.ca/faq/school-closures-faq/

Administrative Reports on Potential School Closures
http://engage.vsb.bc.ca/

VSB’s infographic about the consultation process…

vsb-school-closure-consultation-framework-1-sep-2016

 

 

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