Today, with parents from AR Lord, we delivered 18,324 petition signatures to the Premier’s Vancouver Office. Along with thousands of handwritten letters from students and parents, a thousand lawn signs, and dozens of events we have made the case for public education in East Vancouver.
Two weeks ago, our remarkable elected trustees voted 5-0 to end the school closure process (Mike Lombardi, Patti Bacchus, Joy Alexander, Allan Wong and Janet Fraser voting in favour). Then yesterday, the Liberal government which had caused the closure process with its discredited 95% capacity requirement, fired the elected Vancouver School Board Trustees and replaced them with an unelected appointed provincial trustee.
Now feeling the pressure and due to the amazing advocacy work of the community, the Minister of Education announced today that the “school closure process is over in Vancouver.” And, “Gladstone School will not be closed full stop.” That the Liberal government which pushed closures in East Vancouver was forced to back down is a huge victory for students, parents (the true leaders of the battle) and our community.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to Gladstone students and Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton parents.
For Carleton of course, we continue to fight to make sure this great public school is fixed or replaced. And we need all of your support to make that happen. That effort continues tomorrow, but tonight, we celebrate. I can’t start mentioning names because I would have to mention hundreds. But our community fought back and won.
Now, we have to work together to support the fired trustees, fight for seismic upgrades and adequately fund public education.
And yes, in the coming days, we will be recognizing and celebrating the Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton students, alumni and parents who forced the provincial government to back down. More exciting events to follow, stay tuned!
The Vancouver School Board (VSB) has released a list of schools being considered for closure as a direct result of BC government education policies. A copy of their release can be read here.
There are 10 elementary schools and 2 secondary school on the preliminary closure list including 3 schools from the Vancouver-Kingsway area: Sir Guy Carleton Elementary, Graham D. Bruce Elementary, and Gladstone Secondary.
Carleton and Graham Bruce are fantastic elementary schools. We fought for them last time and we are going to do so again; it’s simply impossible to imagine Joyce-Collingwood without them.
Gladstone is one of two high schools in our riding and it has over 1,000 students. No school of that size in my memory has ever been closed in BC. The plan suggests breaking up the Gladstone student body into four neighbouring schools: Windermere Secondary, Vancouver Technical Secondary, John Oliver Secondary and Tupper Secondary. Needless to say, we will be working with Gladstone students and parents to oppose this closure.
It’s also important to note that the Vancouver City Council is preparing a massive increase in density to this neighborhood (tripling the number of residents in the Joyce-Collingwood Station Precinct). It’s unacceptable to us that we would be facing such development while public services are facing such an attack. Having more people and fewer public and community services is not a fair plan, especially considering the extreme cost of housing in Vancouver. Schools are the most important existing public service in our neighbourhood.
As you are aware, three area schools were on a potential closure list back in 2010. After a major effort from the community, we convinced the VSB to keep all of schools open. A similar effort will be required this time!
The VSB will now begin a process of consultation and consideration of closure for each school. In the coming days, we must start to make the case in favour of public schools on the east side of Vancouver. Please see the consultation process and timeline as issued by the VSB on their website.
I strongly oppose closing Carleton, Graham Bruce, and Gladstone schools and the provincial policies that make those closures possible. Let’s come together to work to support public education.
Adrian Dix, MLA