British Columbia

Closure of 3 Richmond, B.C. schools halted by school board

Alfred B. Dixon, Daniel Woodward, and McKay elementary schools will not be closing.

School board unanimously decides to stop the process after government clarifies policy

Students and parents protested the proposed closure of three elementary schools in the district on Sept. 17, 2016. (CBC)

Three elementary schools in Richmond, B.C. that were on the chopping block have been given a reprieve by the city's school board. 

Alfred B. Dixon, Daniel Woodward, and McKay elementary schools will not be closing, after school trustees unanimously voted to end a process that could have seen those facilities shut down at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Over 300 people packed into the auditorium of Richmond Secondary School for the special meeting Tuesday night. 

The schools were originally nominated because of low enrolment numbers that made them ineligible for provincial funding to pay for seismic upgrades.

However, last month the province chose to eliminate enrollment guidelines for funding, prompting the school board to reconsider.

"We had been working towards [that] guideline for our enrollment capacity," said Richmond School Board chair Debbie Tablotney.

However, she said the school district wasn't out of woods yet, and still faced a deficit in future years.

"The district will still be facing some funding crunches...we're always looking for efficiencies," she said.

"We still have funding pressures, and I think moving forward we will have to be diligent in working with the ministry to stay on top of them to fix our schools."

The Vancouver School Board made a similar decision last week.