Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Board meeting outcomes-- Capilano

As you probably know by now, all the recommendations for closure passed last night. Only one of these votes was unanimous. I value transparency and accountability, so I will provide notes from what I said last night and my vote.

The order of the recommendations was changed last night. So I will list them in the order that they appeared:

Capilano


I heard that people valued the small school atmosphere, the strong connection to their school, and know the quality of life that comes from being able to walk your child to school, having 10 friends on speed dial..this is my lived experience and I wish more people understood the incredible benefits of attending your neighbourhood school. It is not a second choice, a default for lazy parents, it is a wonderful, sensible, ecologically- aware, values-based decision.

As a District, I believe we have let community schools down. We have not given them equal promotion. Our publications, bus signs and flyers promote alternative programs. Our reputation is built on choice and we proudly tour international delegates through our bilingual or alternative program sites. We cultivate international partnerships to support our language programs. We have an entire group of administrators dedicated to curriculum development and program development. We support choice through bussing subsidization and policies that encourage choice. Choice costs. And who pays? Community schools. We neglect them. We let them flounder. We hobble them with policies that say that they can only advertise within their catchment area, while alternative programs are free to advertise city wide. We don’t treat all our schools equally, in my opinion. Community schools have typically been the ones to face closure. They have suffered the low enrolment and we have contributed to their demise, by not ensuring a level playing field and considering them also “schools of choice” in all ways, and in all policies.

I had someone ask me if community schools are a dead concept for EPSB. I replied I don’t think they are dead, but they are definitely in need of some intensive care to see that they continue to be options for parents.

309 signed petition .I wonder what number would change people’s minds?

Facts:
No grade 6 next year
Projected enrolment  next year 97
Small numbers K 11, grade 1- 14
33% space utilized, 27% funded, how do they meet P O & M Needs?
Kids living in the area: 152
53% of resident kids choosing school other than Capilano, including Goldbar (15) and Fulton (15).

From the City Impact statement:
Not socially vulnerable- 14% single parent (compared to city wide average of 19%), $81,911 ($57, 085 city average) No plans from city to revitalize, etc.
Forecast stable over next 15 years.

In the end,  I supported this recommendation. I felt conflicted, but in the end, the very small numbers did not seem sustainable to me and I didn't see any new hope looming for the school.

VOTE: 7-1, with Trustee Colburn against.

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