“The current approach to school
reorganization in the UBC/Dunbar area by Vancouver NPA School Board Trustees is
right off the wall," said COPE Trustee Al Blakey, responding to the
proposed closure and sale of west side Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Annex, and
the transfer of its 129 students among several schools.

Based on a yet to be negotiated agreement
between the Vancouver School Board and UBC for lease of a vacant National
Research Council building to accommodate overcrowded University Hill Secondary
School students, the Board’s reorganization plans for west side schools is
causing concern as parents become aware of the full implications of the plan.

“This is a troubling and precedent setting
change for the funding of new schools by the provincial government,” said COPE
Trustee Allan Wong. “Previously, Victoria fully funded new schools, as in the
recent construction of Elsie Roy and Collingwood Neighbourhood schools in
Vancouver. Now Victoria
is abdicating its responsibility with an all too willing NPA School Board that
is complicit in the closure and sale of a valuable public asset at Queen
Elizabeth Annex."

COPE Trustee Sharon Gregson said that she
is appalled at the break-neck speed of the 19-day VSB consultation schedule.  “Queen Elizabeth Annex is strongly supported
and valued by parents and its closure will be an enormous and unwarranted loss
to this community.

“The UBC/Dunbar plan has so many drawbacks,
based as it is on an absurd 95 per cent school occupancy requirement from the
province.  The plan is a fragmented and
skewed approach that has caused so much community grief that the entire plan
should be dumped," said Gregson. "One has to ask when and where the
next For Sale sign is going to appear on another Vancouver school.

Reporting on a packed January 29 public
meeting at Queen Elizabeth Annex, former COPE Trustee Noel Herron said
"parent after parent, for over an hour grilled School Superintendent Chris
Kelly and presented their own stats and banners, as well as letters from the

"One parent, a local coach, spoke
eloquently about the role of a neighbourhood school and its value to the local
community.  Significantly, the Queen
Elizabeth annex parents sent a letter to the Board asking for a six month’s
postponement of any closure decision."

The Vancouver School Board will meet on
March 11, 2008 to decide the fate of Queen Elizabeth Annex. The public cannot
address Trustees at the meeting, but they can send letters, email and phone
Trustees at: Vancouver School Board, 1580 W.
Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6J 5K8,

Allen Blakey                        604-433-6844    allen.blakey@vsb.bc.ca

Ken Denike                          604-889-0564    ken.denike@vsb.bc.ca

Carol Gibson (Vice-chair) 604-734-6610    carol.gibson@vsb.bc.ca

Eleanor Gregory                 604-737-1980    eleanor.gregory@vsb.bc.ca

Sharon Gregson                  604-505-5725    sharon.gregson@vsb.bc.ca

Clarence Hansen (Chair)   778-239-9602    clarence.hansen@vsb.bc.ca

Don Lee                                 604-325-9474    don.lee@vsb.bc.ca

Allan Wong                           604-437-6074    allan.wong@vsb.bc.ca

Shirley Wong                        604-897-8389    shirley.wong@vsb.bc.ca

COPE School Trustees oppose sale of Queen Elizabeth School Annex

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