An audit report of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) released by the Government of British Columbia suggests that 19 schools could be looked at for closure in order to improve its financial situation.
The 225-page report, conducted by Ernst and Young, contains 52 findings and makes 59 recommendations. It suggests that the closures could generate a one-time $750 million in savings. With overflow capacity in downtown schools, and empty seats in East Vancouver schools, the findings indicate that increasing surplus seats are around 10,000, and suggests “the cost of education is significantly higher in the Vancouver Board of Education compared to peers.”
“I called for a special advisor to review the practices of the Vancouver School Board with a view to finding opportunities to efficiencies that would ensure that we’re investing in students rather than empty class rooms,” said Education Minister Peter Fassbender in a statement.
By reducing the surplus capacity, an additional $37 million of yearly income will be generated, the report suggests.
The 19 schools are not identified, although the report states that there have not been improvements in enrolment at Sir William MacDonald, Sir Guy Carleton and Queen Alexandra elementary schools.
Chairperson of the VSB Christopher Richardson said that the report will require careful consideration. They are not obligated to go through with any of the recommendations.
Fassbender is urging the VSB to consider the recommendations before the end of the month. The Vancouver Board of Education’s 2015-16 budget must be sent off to the Ministry of Education by June 30.