School closures database
The BCTF has compiled and made public a comprehensive accounting of school closures in BC school districts. We do not count schools that were torn down and replaced, and only count those facilities that lead to a net loss. We make every effort to check with locals to ensure that our information is accurate and current.
Between the 2001–02 and 2008–09 school years, 176 public schools in BC have been closed. This number of closures in such a narrow space of time is unprecedented in our province’s public school history. More schools are slated to close or are threatened with closure in coming years.
The government's numbers
The government’s claim that 73 schools opened is very misleading. 2008 ministry of education documents show there are only 26 “new” schools. Of those, only 4 were actually planned and paid for by the BC Liberal government.
- 3 are from the 1998 capital plan
- 10 are from the 1999 capital plan
- 7 are from the 2000 capital plan
- 2 are from the 2001 capital plan
The remaining new schools are replacements. There is no net gain. And again, they are counting 25 replacement projects from capital plans of the previous NDP government. The Liberal government actually froze capital spending when they came into power in 2001.
Poll shows support for neighbourhood schools
A March 2008 poll done for the BCTF shows that British Columbians by an almost 3:1 ratio believe that most important factor in deciding whether a school should stay open is the broader role it plays in the neighbourhood. More...
Information about school closures and the impact on communities
Communications on school closures
What others are doing
- Parents, teachers, and other members from BC communities facing school closures participated in a seminar at the BCTF on May 29, 2008. The report summarizes their strategies and ideas for future directions, networking, and focused action.
- A community group won a court decision blocking the board of education from closing Cape Lazo Middle School in the Comox School District. More...
- More than 300 people attended a rally Monday, April 7, 2008 on the steps of the BC Legislature to protest school closures and the sale of school lands. View the pictures. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Let's Agree to Not Dispose of Schools! web site.
- Garibaldi Annex, small school, big heart is a website for parents, teachers and the community to share information about this Vancouver school threatened with closure. The community's innovative proposal saved the school. You can read more about their proposal on the Save Garibaldi Annex! blog.
- Fewer schools, more politicians! Will McMartin, in The Tyee, notes a contrast in government action: close schools in rural areas, but protect the minister of education from having her seat eliminated because of dropping population.
- Small schools, next big thing. Nick Smith, a public school teacher, writes about how students learn better in a focused, familiar setting. The Tyee (Sep 9, 2008).