With files from Kyle Benning
The Vancouver School Board voted Monday night to suspend the potential closure of 11 schools.
Vision VSB Trustee Patti Bacchus says all consultations planned for the next few weeks have been cancelled.
Motion to suspend VSB closure process CARRIED #bced
— Patti Bacchus (@pattibacchus) October 4, 2016
“If we do go forward, it will be a process that is focused on getting students into seismically safe buildings and it will not be focused on simply closing the schools in order to save money.”
Bacchus says she’s glad the board moved forward with this motion because there has been some issues.
“Of course we had heard lots of feedback from parents that that process was not going to be adequate.”
Read More: Two key employees step aside
“There are several other factors that have come up. There have been concerns about the consultation process, concerns about the accuracy of data and a need to really slow down and think about this more thoughtfully before we make some major decisions.”
Bacchus says all trustees voted to suspend the potential closures, but noted the four NPA trustees abstained from voting.
NPA VSB Trustee Fraser Ballantyne says it is good news for parents, but the board still has work to do.
“The whole support structure is going to be decimated next year. Every parent needs to be concerned about that. And the money is not going to come from the ministry. We haven’t even passed a budget this year.”
Ballantyne says the motion to suspend closures blindsided the NPA trustees which is why they abstained from voting.
He says he was blindsided by the motion.
“The acting superintendent had put forward his recommendation in and obviously that was the first we saw of it tonight. We had no notion of what was going on here.”
Ballantyne calls the current situation a circus.
Entire senior staff take medical leave
After two senior VSB staffers took medical leave at the same time, four more administrators have now taken leave.
Vancouver School Board Trustee Fraser Ballantyne tells Global News that if this isn’t a crisis, he doesn’t know what is.
Those comments come after VSB Chair Mike Lombardi said it wasn’t a crisis.
This comes as the board grapples with a $15 million dollar budget shortfall and considers closing 11 schools.