Dear ABC Supporters;
I am writing to give an update on two important issues our ABC Vancouver School Trustees and Vancouver School Board (VSB) are facing: A structural deficit, and declining enrollment in schools.
The VSB must deliver school programs within budget, with the primary goal of being equitable to students across the city.
The VSB receives funding from the provincial government based on enrollment, which has been declining for many years. Multi-million dollar deficits have grown due to program offerings in excess of Ministry funding. For years, costs have accumulated without funding sources to cover them, running the mandated contingency fund dry. The VSB needs to make changes to accommodate students across the city equally, while meeting challenging fiscal realities and balancing the budget.
ABC Trustees’ priority is to ensure equitably allocated resources that benefit all students.
The VSB is not recommending any school closures in the 2023-2024 budget. The VSB is reviewing Annex buildings built during the baby boom, reviewing best uses for these buildings, taking into consideration current and expected enrollment.
For years the VSB has been raising the alarm around the lack of enrollment and high costs of the Queen Elizabeth Annex – a French immersion program, which most students are driven to from other parts of the city. The recommendation from staff is that the 70 students be transferred to Jules Quesnel French immersion school, which has capacity and is a three-minute drive away. Jules Quesnel has more programs and choices for students and is seismically upgraded.
VSB staff are implementing the following operational change for the coming year:
Relocating students in the Grade 8 – 12 Ideal Mini program from an annex on Laurier Elementary to Churchill Secondary. The building is needed for the long waitlist of Kindergarten and elementary children, who are currently going to school out of catchment. ABC Trustees have asked VSB for a detailed plan, by the end of May, on the Ideal Mini move to Churchill.
We understand there are warranted sensitivities around changes when it comes to our children’s schooling. ABC School Trustees are listening to all concerns and are committed to putting children first. The VSB also has five standing committees welcoming all stakeholder representatives to participate in meetings.
We welcome your feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director, ABC Vancouver