Ecole Puntledge is on the chopping block for one reason: money.
Like school boards all over B.C., we’re under stress to submit a balanced budget. The District’s proposal calls for moving Puntledge kids into Lake Trail Middle School, while bussing their kids over to Vanier, all to save less than 1% of the annual budget. Will this work?
Right now, Ecole Puntledge is a beautiful, thriving school running at 96% capacity. For over 50 years, it’s been nestled in a protected setting with forest on three sides and a salmon stream running outside its doors. Its capacity for nature education is irreplaceable.
Lake Trail is also a great facility, built for older kids. How do you turn it into an elementary? Strip out the kitchen, wood and metal shops and other amenities, all needed for new classrooms. Our kids will be fenced in and lose access to forest play areas. Instead of a stream, they’ll have a convenience store. And the conversion costs will be very expensive.
As SD71 nears the end of its declining enrolment, losing any neighbourhood facility from our growing core would be a big mistake. 240 B.C. schools have been closed since 2002 and currently, Vancouver schools are being threatened due to not meeting 95% enrolment standards. Taking time to consider better options is the prudent way forward.
In January, Puntledge completed the Board’s required 60-day consultation process. Meanwhile, our District’s two top administrators who conceived these plans (Sherry Elwood and Russell Horswill) have moved on to mainland jobs before the process is complete, leaving our Trustees holding the purse strings. The Trustees vote to decide on closure is set for March 15th.
We can save money now and explore ways to keep our best resources working. Similar savings can be achieved without rushing into steps that may be impossible to undo. Together, we can find ways to manage our resources and build new and financially beneficial partnerships. Together we can make all our schools our best schools.
Schools belong to the community. The community has to put a stop to closures! Watch the video on this site, read about the options. Full reports can be found as PDFs on our RESOURCES page. Write a letter, or sign our petition on the ACTION page. Help us with the fight to preserve public education!
Tell our Trustees:
Vote no to closing Ecole Puntledge.