Richmond students, parents protest proposed closure of 3 elementary schools

The Richmond School District has whittled a short list of 16 schools being considered for closure down to three — Woodward, McKay and Dixon elementary schools — as it tries to meet provincial criteria for seismic upgrades.

Trustees to vote in October on closure of Woodward, McKay and Dixon elementary schools

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

The Richmond School District has whittled a short list of 16 schools being considered for closure down to three — Woodward, McKay and Dixon elementary schools — as it tries to meet provincial criteria for seismic upgrades.

Meanwhile, the Friday announcement prompted students and their parents to gather with protest signs outside of MLA John Yap's office on Saturday.

"They were surprised and really really heartbroken," said Lisa Fisher of her two children who attend Dixon elementary. "Dixon has been part of our community for more than 50 years. We have teachers at our school that went there as children."

In order to access more provincial funds, the Richmond school district must be at 95 per cent capacity — currently it's at 81 per cent —  but even by closing just the three schools, it will only manage to get to 91 per cent capacity.

"We're hoping we created enough of a business case that they will accept and move forward," said Richmond School District chair Debbie Tablotney of the provincial government.

School trustees will make their final decision about the closures in mid-October and will first spend time with parents and students to hear their concerns.​

with files fromBrenna Rose.