It’s a last minute plea from the City of Vancouver to save several city schools on the chopping block.
City councilors voted unanimously to pen a letter to education minister Mike Bernier to reconsider the 95 per cent capacity requirement for schools to get seismic upgrades.
But the Ministry of Education says the capacity requirement is in place only in Vancouver after an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in 2014.
In the MOU, the Vancouver School Board agreed to achieve a 95 per cent threshold across the district.
The Ministry says the issue is also “flexible,” saying several capital and seismic projects have already been completed or are underway.
Councillor Andrea Reimer says each school should be looked at differently.
“We’re asking the Minister to develop a flexible approach that allows educational outcomes to come first for children and youth and families.”
Reimer says the province needs to consider educational needs first.
“Inner city and Aboriginal learners need to be supported as close to their homes as possible, which would make the case that no school that has a significant population of inner city and aboriginal kids should be closed.”
“Those learners need place based solutions. The board has worked very hard over many years to crate those solutions, really increase graduation rates for those kids.”
Reimer does admit that schools which have seen a declining enrollment over the years should be considered for closure, but re-iterates that Vancouver is growing in population.
“I wouldn’t be looking at whether those numbers had gone down, as well as projections for new housing in the area.”
On Monday, the Vancouver school board will narrow down the original list of 12 schools consider for closure.