Transparent, data-based, equitable decision-making
QEA parents are asking Vancouver Trustees, parents, PACs and DPAC to support a motion calling for no school closure considerations to be advanced for 2 years until transparent, data-based and equitable planning can be achieved.
Why wait for transparent, data-based, equitable decision-making?
Several key planning tools are about to come on line in 2022 which will give VSB a rare opportunity: a clear indication of where children live now (Census 2021) and where children are going to live (upcoming major plans, including the Vancouver Plan, Jericho Lands and Broadway Corridor). It’s just good planning practice to wait for this impactful information before making any irreversible decisions, such as school closures.
This is not a motion against all school closures, land sales, or seismic upgrades. This is a motion in support of transparency and data-based, equitable decision-making. Let’s take this time to recover from COVID-19 impacts and plan our future transparently.
Working together, not pitting against each other
QEA faced school closure considerations in 2019, 2016 and 2010. And while there is currently no announcement about school closure considerations, there are 8 schools mentioned in the 2021 Long Range Facilities Plan that could be impacted in the future by “consolidation”, “relocation” or “merger”, and 40 schools that are “unsupported” for seismic upgrade. Rather than scrambling one school at a time — or worse, having schools pitted against each other — our hope is to pull together and collectively ask the VSB to do its homework first before making irreversible decisions that impact children and families.
In May and June we held several presentations to DPAC, parents and PACs to spread the word and modify the motion to benefit as many schools and students as possible. In June, QEA presented the proposed motion to the Trustee’s Committee of the Whole — with 6 other delegations from schools across Vancouver supporting us!
We’ve spoken directly with around 18 schools, who have differing views on school closures, land sales, and seismic upgrade priorities, but what we have consistently heard from everyone is that if an irreversible decision is going to be made, it must be based on up-to-date and transparent numbers. Schools also don’t want to be pitted against each other any more, and want decisions to be based on transparent planning practices instead.
In the fall we will be campaigning for Trustees to vote in favour of the motion, and we hope to have the support of families, PACs and DPAC!
No irreversible decisions without transparent long-term planning
To illustrate the importance of using the most up-to-date data and planning before making irreversible decisions, we looked into the status of 12 schools which were under closure consideration in 2010. Looking at school capacity utilization by catchment in 2019, we can see that just 9 years after being on the chopping block, 6 of these 12 schools were located in high utilization areas.
How can I support the motion?
1. Write a letter – send a letter to Trustees and to DPAC indicating your PAC’s or your personal support for the motion, and ask friends / family from other schools across Vancouver to also send a letter in support.
2. Join a delegation – after our successful turnout of 6 school delegations in June, we will be looking for more PACs, parents and students from schools across Vancouver to present as a delegation in the fall when the motion will be discussed and voted on. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us you’re interested and we can help soundboard your ideas too.
3. Vote at your next PAC meeting – at your last PAC meeting in June or first PAC meeting in September, discuss this motion with parents and determine whether your school supports it, and then tell us, DPAC and Trustees about your support.
Questions? Ideas? Please reach out to us at email@example.com