School Closures

Re: School Closures

Postby Anonymous123 » Nov 14th, 2015, 6:58 pm

madmudder wrote:Take one of the schools that will be closed and convert it to a hotel and casino with attached waterslide.

Better yet, convert them into seniors residences.
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Re: School Closures

Postby twobits » Nov 14th, 2015, 7:43 pm

What's kind of interesting about this topic is the tepid opposition to schools closing. We probably will see more when actual school closings are announced. It would seem however that most people do understand that you cannot run efficiently at 75% capacity and it is really in the best interest of the students educations that a consolidation happen from a dollars per student expenditure point of view. I think that even the parents within the catchment area of proposed school closures even realize this reality.
And when the major backlash is not coming from the parents of the children directly affected but rather the BCTF, it really puts into perspective the motivation of those that oppose a consolidation of school facilities. The bottom line for me here is the BCTF is supporting inefficient spending of education funding for nothing more than maintaining the number of members that contribute a huge chunk of their pay cheques to provide pay cheques for an inflated number of, and far over compensated BCTF executive.
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Re: School Closures

Postby Osoyoos_Familyof4 » Nov 14th, 2015, 8:57 pm

Twobits: Are you insinuating that the BCTF is worried about school closures in regards to staffing (as in teachers)? Please clarify what you're issue is with the BCTF's position in regards to these school closures. Thanks.

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Re: School Closures

Postby Osoyoos_Familyof4 » Nov 14th, 2015, 10:19 pm

I have no particular personal dog in this fight. My children are not remotely effected by school closures. They go to a school with increased enrollment and almost 100% capacity. We are a family of educators, and neither of us are directly effected by a school closure in regards to our commute, or our own job. Personally, I think school closure is an unfortunate reality within the budget constraints. If you ask me about "the budget" for education in general; I might be more opinionated about my stance because I do feel fundamentally that education is under-valued, under-appreciated and under-funded! I am however compelled to offer some "considerations" because I feel like there has been a false assertion here that the BCTF is looking to save teaching jobs (which isn't so). I have not always agreed with the BCTF in the past. In fact, in my house, the word "union" is hardly ever mentioned and is something we rarely discuss. We're purists (plain and simple). We love children, and we give a darn. We volunteer our time ALL THE TIME. We are often some of the last to leave each day, and neither of us see the inside of the staff room very often because you'll usually find that we're helping students before and after school, and at lunch, and...and...and... I'm not looking for a compliment by saying this, we don't consider ourselves special. We know far more teachers dedicated to their craft than their union. We know more hardworking professional educators than militant unionists. We do not consider ourselves unique.

To be clear: BCTF "members" would not dramatically be personally effected by school closures. The BCTF's position on this one is because they feel that it's not in the student's best interests; it has nothing to do with teaching positions being eliminated (because they wouldn't be eliminated).

School closure is about infrastructure (meaning property) and those that service "the property" (meaning support staff like -janitorial, hydro, secretarial etc). In short, it has nothing to do with saving teacher's jobs, because the teachers are already close to capacity if not already at capacity. The BCTF does not represent those who may lose their position because of school closure.

The BCTF's "issue" with closures are:

- If schools are "closed" and the assets sold off, these are assets gone! It doesn't allow for us to have a change of heart should the population change, or should educational philosophy change (which it does all the time).

- If we lose neighbourhood schools, we lose school culture. Do you want to put your kids on a bus at 7:15am? Studies show that the later we can push start-time in school, the better. Children do better with a late-start, not an earlier start.

- What about after school activities? Bussing children makes for challenging situations in regards to school teams and clubs. Does this mean that only the children who walk to school get to play on school teams and join school clubs unless they have parents who are able to pick them up?

What about "play"? After school chums playing on the playground! When we bus children, we lose the ability to schedule after school play-dates in the area, or even better - NOT schedule after school play-dates and just have...play!

- What about parental involvement? You lose parental involvement when we centralize schools. The further away a family is from their school, the less they're involved in any opportunities like PAC, like volunteering for events and activities etc. Parents who don't walk to pick up their kids don't meet other parents in their child's classrooms. There is a bunch of problems with this scenario. Parents who know each other, solve problems together, and organize support services amongst themselves. Many a plan has been made by moms and dads standing outside the doors waiting to pick up their children.

- The bottom line is not about reducing teaching positions, it's about school culture, and a longer school day for the children who are bussed, and less after school opportunities for children who are bussed.

- People not opposed to closing schools are generally those with no children in the system, or those who live in an area where their children can walk.

As well, school buildings are used in the communities they serve by a variety of other community groups and organizations. Not every community has enough public space to facilitate all private groups. I'm not suggesting that the onus is upon the school board to provide the building spaces, but they do. Communities have long taken advantage of the space available after school ends for the day. Let's hope your municipality has some options there or you may lose some public services.
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Re: School Closures

Postby bob vernon » Nov 14th, 2015, 10:22 pm

Get those schools closed and sold to, you know, friends of the party in power for a, you know, reasonable price to assist in the development of the land. And get it done quickly before the school enrollment rises. Once enrollment rises, we'll have to buy land from, you know, friends of the party in power to build some new schools.

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Re: School Closures

Postby pentona » Nov 14th, 2015, 10:41 pm

Osoyoos_Familyof4 wrote:Twobits: Are you insinuating that the BCTF is worried about school closures in regards to staffing (as in teachers)? Please clarify what you're issue is with the BCTF's position in regards to these school closures. Thanks.


I could be mistaken but I believe that its "Capital" costs that have to be cut. Not teachers salaries (isn't that "Operational")? I'm surprised a a certain poster (not twobits) hasn't come on here blaming the entire mess on the NDP (as he usually does).
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Re: School Closures

Postby twobits » Nov 15th, 2015, 8:16 pm

Osoyoos_Familyof4 wrote:I have no particular personal dog in this fight. My children are not remotely effected by school closures. They go to a school with increased enrollment and almost 100% capacity. We are a family of educators, and neither of us are directly effected by a school closure in regards to our commute, or our own job. Personally, I think school closure is an unfortunate reality within the budget constraints. If you ask me about "the budget" for education in general; I might be more opinionated about my stance because I do feel fundamentally that education is under-valued, under-appreciated and under-funded! I am however compelled to offer some "considerations" because I feel like there has been a false assertion here that the BCTF is looking to save teaching jobs (which isn't so). I have not always agreed with the BCTF in the past. In fact, in my house, the word "union" is hardly ever mentioned and is something we rarely discuss. We're purists (plain and simple). We love children, and we give a darn. We volunteer our time ALL THE TIME. We are often some of the last to leave each day, and neither of us see the inside of the staff room very often because you'll usually find that we're helping students before and after school, and at lunch, and...and...and... I'm not looking for a compliment by saying this, we don't consider ourselves special. We know far more teachers dedicated to their craft than their union. We know more hardworking professional educators than militant unionists. We do not consider ourselves unique.

To be clear: BCTF "members" would not dramatically be personally effected by school closures. The BCTF's position on this one is because they feel that it's not in the student's best interests; it has nothing to do with teaching positions being eliminated (because they wouldn't be eliminated).

School closure is about infrastructure (meaning property) and those that service "the property" (meaning support staff like -janitorial, hydro, secretarial etc). In short, it has nothing to do with saving teacher's jobs, because the teachers are already close to capacity if not already at capacity. The BCTF does not represent those who may lose their position because of school closure.

The BCTF's "issue" with closures are:

- If schools are "closed" and the assets sold off, these are assets gone! It doesn't allow for us to have a change of heart should the population change, or should educational philosophy change (which it does all the time).

- If we lose neighbourhood schools, we lose school culture. Do you want to put your kids on a bus at 7:15am? Studies show that the later we can push start-time in school, the better. Children do better with a late-start, not an earlier start.

- What about after school activities? Bussing children makes for challenging situations in regards to school teams and clubs. Does this mean that only the children who walk to school get to play on school teams and join school clubs unless they have parents who are able to pick them up?

What about "play"? After school chums playing on the playground! When we bus children, we lose the ability to schedule after school play-dates in the area, or even better - NOT schedule after school play-dates and just have...play!

- What about parental involvement? You lose parental involvement when we centralize schools. The further away a family is from their school, the less they're involved in any opportunities like PAC, like volunteering for events and activities etc. Parents who don't walk to pick up their kids don't meet other parents in their child's classrooms. There is a bunch of problems with this scenario. Parents who know each other, solve problems together, and organize support services amongst themselves. Many a plan has been made by moms and dads standing outside the doors waiting to pick up their children.

- The bottom line is not about reducing teaching positions, it's about school culture, and a longer school day for the children who are bussed, and less after school opportunities for children who are bussed.

- People not opposed to closing schools are generally those with no children in the system, or those who live in an area where their children can walk.

As well, school buildings are used in the communities they serve by a variety of other community groups and organizations. Not every community has enough public space to facilitate all private groups. I'm not suggesting that the onus is upon the school board to provide the building spaces, but they do. Communities have long taken advantage of the space available after school ends for the day. Let's hope your municipality has some options there or you may lose some public services.


You are preaching to the choir here Osoyoos. The BCTF could care less about the support staff....they are not revenue generators to the BCTF. The only thing the BCTF is concerned about is the loss of union revenue from the loss of membership. You portray their concern as being some altruistic concern about lower education results when kids have to be bused to their schools. Balderdash. There are not too many kids, outside of dense inner City catchment areas that do not either experience the school bus or have a parent provide drop off and pick up service. And somehow, considering the vast geographical footprint of our Province, our kids still amazingly seem to score pretty damn high in international standards.
Don't kid yourself, the BCTF is very concerned about membership loss.

What has become a new reality to them is that school consolidation is not just a sparse rural area reality. They fought the closures of schools that only had 50 students grades one thru seven in (name your hamlet BC) as well based on the same argument of declining student results. There is no statistical support for that and in fact, parents that choose to live in remote sparsely populated area's, fully understand and accept their kids might spent two hrs a day on a bus while at the same time, still receive a globally first rate education. And if their grades did not meet median values, and the parents were concerned, should they not pay a little more to support their "hamlet" school of 50 students for their choice of residence and lifestyle?

Back to the new BCTF reality. Declining school enrollment was first felt in rural areas because they were already on the edge of financial justification even at the best of times. The new reality is that declining enrollment is being felt in many urban areas even as small/large as the Skaha district. It is not rocket science to realize that having some schools with class sizes of 10 or 12 cannot be combined with another school's 10 or 12 to make one class of 20 to 24. End result, one teacher required when it was previously two and the cost of busing the 10 or 12 to a different school is a fraction of the displaced teachers salary, benefits, and pension package. And that does not even consider the things the BCTF could care less about....like the custodians, secretarial, Councillor, vice prince and main prince, plus heating, cooling, repairs and maint of a building and grounds that does not have the customers, the students, to justify it's operation.

The Skaha district having severely under utilized schools make about as much sense as Penticton having three hospitals running at 33% capacity. The ambulance ride might be a little longer but the outcome will be the same or better because of a focused and efficient use of available funds.
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Re: School Closures

Postby jamapple » Nov 16th, 2015, 12:42 pm

Anonymous123 wrote:Better yet, convert them into seniors residences.



What do you think casinos are?? LOL!
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Re: School Closures

Postby jasond_71 » Nov 19th, 2015, 5:05 pm

There is something to be said about having a community feel of a school close to where you live but I still think it does not make sense to have a school half full. It makes it very difficult to offer courses in the high schools. If only 15 students sign up for Physics 12 they simply don't run the course. If they combine two high schools then they would have 30 students signing up for Physics 12 and they will run the course. It offers students more choices.

In elementary it means you have all split classes because they won't run a class of 20 grade fours and 40 grade fives so they run two split classes of 30 Grade 4/5.

It of course also saves money on heat, administrators, janitors etc. It doesn't really save any money on teachers as they would simply be moved to the school where the kids are moved to. The districts have filled many schools with International students as they are a cash cow, over $22,000 per student. They can predict enrollment with accuracy up to 15 years and it is going up slightly in Vernon, Penticton etc. but it will never get back to late 90's early 2000 levels.
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Re: School Closures

Postby Midnite » Nov 21st, 2015, 9:19 am

jasond_71 wrote: If only 15 students sign up for Physics 12 they simply don't run the course. If they combine two high schools then they would have 30 students signing up for Physics 12 and they will run the course. It offers students more choices

This is why I could never understand the rationale for Maggie becoming a Senior High school. The smaller enrollment limits the choices offered to the students. plus the fact we are funding two schools when one could do better, cost per student would have to be lower.
Only advantage I can think of is the grad ceremonies wouldn't take as long.lol
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Re: School Closures

Postby ToddT » Nov 22nd, 2015, 12:13 pm

When I went to high school we were the last grade 8 class at Pen Hi, and Pen Hi was the only secondary school. Maggie and McNicoll were only 8-10. I went to Snowden for K-5, O'Connel for 6/7, and Pen Hi for 8-12. Now Snowden and O'Connel are gone, Pen Hi has been completely disfigured, and they are talking about reverting back to the way it used to be.
Makes me LOL.
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