The Chair of the Vancouver School Board, Christopher Richardson, isn’t ruling out closing schools, but does say decisions won’t be made any time soon–and definitely not before it must submit a balanced budget to the government on June 30th.
“The immediate impact on the June 30 budget, which is you know three weeks away, school closures wouldn’t be part of that conversation at all, I haven’t looked in detail, but there may be some particular recommendations, nothing is jumping out at me right now.”
An Ernst and Young audit suggested the board close up to 19 schools to save money; the province says the independent review of the school board’s finances found 72 million dollars’ worth of potential annual savings and one-time savings of 750 million dollars.
“School closures and excess capacity is something that we have to look at carefully. We want to look at a lens of quality education and out of that will come possibly as we see in our current budget, are the closure of individual classrooms to start to address excess spaces.”
Richardson acknowledges the city is facing capacity issues, with East Side schools seeing empty seats, while downtown schools are bursting at the seams, but says it will have to take a long and hard look at the impact to the communities.