B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier is moving to scrap the provincial school utilization rate requirements for B.C. schools.
The chair of the Vancouver School Board, Mike Lombardi, has long called on the province to move away from its 95 per cent district-wide capacity requirement for school boards to secure funding for seismic upgrades, saying it’s “not grounded in research,” among other shortcomings.
This may mean some of the schools facing closure in Vancouver will be spared the chopping block.
Bernier held a news conference on Wednesday afternoon where he made the announcement.
“Thank goodness, and advocacy works”
That was Lombardi’s reaction to the long-awaited change.
Lombardi says he’s proud of the work done by parents, city council, and community groups who fought to have the requirement removed.
“It’s a good day for us today, as you know that was one of the main foundations driving our long term facilities plan, and our potential school closures, so this will give us an opportunity to go back and assess.”
Ideal outcomes moving forward?
“My hope is that by eliminating this arbitrary ninety-five per cent, we can get back to focusing on safe schools, good quality learning.”
Vancouver school trustees have long decried the 95 per cent district-wide capacity requirement to secure funds for seismic upgrades.
Vancouver School Board Trustee Patti Bacchus says she’s glad to see some action finally taken on what’s been a big problem for local schools.
“For the past couple of years, they have used this arbitrary very high-rate of capacity as a way of really delaying more funding coming forward. So parents and the school board and city council have all been advocating for a removal of that requirement in order to get on with getting kids into safe schools.”
Trustees will review a committee report Monday night recommending 11 schools move forward in the school closure process to save money.