News Local

Richmond school closures coming in 2017

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Richmond School District will be closing as many as five schools on June 30, 2017, with the names of the potential schools to be closed revealed next month — the move is being done as part of declining enrolment requirements ordered by the provincial government.

District board chairwoman Debbie Tablotney said on Thursday that staff have prepared five dates in May for the public to review a preliminary list of the three to five schools that will be closed, with a vote by the board of trustees anticipated in October this year.

She said, generally, schools that would be considered for closure are at least 25% under-capacity. The district would also examine whether the students at the school are from within or out of catchment. The age, need for repairs, and seismic stability of each school would also be considered.

For example, seven schools in the district currently require “significant repairs,” and 21 schools are considered at high risk to earthquakes.

One example of an underused school, Tablotney said, would be Sea Island Elementary, which serves kindergarten to Grade 3 students — and is technically an annex of Brighouse Elementary.

Parents of students at the annex have written the board, saying that despite how the annex has operating costs 388% higher than the district average, there are six other schools that cost even more.

The school has a capacity of 195 students, but only 30 currently attend.

“That sounds bad — but it’s not a fair assessment of our capacity, when you consider that five rooms at the school are used by other organizations,” reads the letter, signed by approximately 40 nearby households.

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