The chair of the Richmond School Board says the Board will be closing at least five schools from a shortlist of 16 next year.

Debbie Tablotney says the board needs to meet the provincial government's standards to receive seismic upgrading for 21 of its schools that have H1 rating — the highest ranking for upgrade needs.

To receive provincial funding, a school must be at 95 percent capacity but schools across the district are 85 percent full, according to Tablotney. 

"If we were not having to meet the 95 percent rate, maybe we would not be where we are, but one can't bury their head in the sand," Tablotney told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"There's not an endless pool of money. There are a lot of districts that are actually in this situation. As much as we don't like it, we are in the unenviable position of having to look at it and having to close some schools."

Tablotney says each of the 16 schools on the shortlist will form a committee of staff and parents to make sure the data is correct and identify what is "special and unique" about the school that the board needs to know.

"Certainly, we're looking at the seismic condition of the school, whether the school has problems with, say, the building envelope, the age of the facility and the walkability," Tablotney said.

The list of schools being considered for closure is as follows:

  • Blundell Elementary
  • Bridge Elementary
  • Diefenbaker Elementary
  • Dixon Elementary
  • Errington Elementary
  • Gilmore Elementary
  • Grauer Elementary
  • Lee Elementary
  • Maple Lane Elementary
  • McKay Elementary
  • McKinney Elementary
  • Mitchell Elementary
  • Quilchena Elementary
  • Thompson Elementary
  • Whiteside Elementary
  • Woodward Elementary

With files from On The Coast

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: At least 5 Richmond elementary schools to close next year