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Vancouver School Board whittles down possible school closures to five

Information leaked to local media about the decision to remove six schools from the Vancouver School Board’s possible closure list appears to be true, according to the press release issued by the board this evening.

Despite a media embargo on the Vancouver School Board (VSB)’s Administrative Report: Schools Considered for Potential Closure until 7 p.m., CBC online reported earlier today that five east Vancouver schools: Queen Alexandra Elementary, Sir Guy Carleton Elementary, Macdonald Elementary, McBride Annex, and Champlain Annex, were still being considered for closure. This information was later confirmed by a press release posted on the school board website.

The CBC claims to have received confirmation from two unnamed board trustees, but when the Tyee contacted VSB Communications Manager David Weir, he refused comment.

“From our end the report is embargoed and I have to honour that embargo,” Weir told the Tyee. He added that he did not know how the CBC got their information.

The original list of 11 schools slated for possible closure was posted on the VSB website June 23, days before the end of the 2009/10 school year. According to their website, in 2009 the schools remaining on the list had enrolments ranging from 24 per cent to 81 per cent capacity, but student population was only one aspect taken into consideration when choosing which schools to keep on the chopping block.

“The 144-page report provides detailed information and analysis of the enrolment trends, school space utilization, current school programming, facility and site information, operational issues and financial impact for each school,” the VSB release said.

Making the list does not mean school doors will definitely shut for good, however. The report must first be approved by trustees at a meeting on October 5, and public consultations on the possible closures, which were expected to begin in September, are now scheduled to start October 25. If approved, the closures, which are being considered in order to compensate for an $18 million budget shortfall, will take effect by September 2011.

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