The NDP’s education critic says closing 19 schools and selling off the property in Vancouver would “rip the guts” out of neighbourhoods.
Rob Fleming says the number of 10-thousand empty seats in the Vancouver school district used by minister Peter Fassbender is not accurate.
“The minister is throwing around a whole bunch of wild numbers. If you look at the range of assumptions in that report it is extremely problematic including the number of so called empty seats, which has been over estimated by at least double. Teh minister himself confirmed in debate in the legislature just a month ago that Vancouver as well as other districts in British Columbia are starting to see enrollment growth.”
Fleming says for VSB to close schools and sell off the property, as recommended in an audit, is ridiculous.
“Well I think it just misses the mark in terms of how feasible that is. neighbourhoods cannot afford to lose schools. In Vancouver the demographic changes are already happening. We are seeing kindegarten enrollment growth in Vancouver and in other communities. If you look at what BC Stats, a government agency, is telling the ministry of public education this report does not square with that. Once you sell these assets you can never get them back.”
The Ernst and Young audit made 59 recommendations for VSB to run a better fiscal ship, while a separate audit last week concluded the district was doing just fine.