Letter: School closure unacceptable

Dear Editor,

Re: “District juggles flip flopping Ministry, angry parents,” News, Sept. 30.

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I wanted to clarify a few points from your article. While having schools within walking distance is an important concern (and the bigger conversation is what that symbolizes ­— the fact that neighbourhood schools are important to the community) we have had much larger concerns with the proposition of Dixon closing.

Were the (Richmond School) Board to close Dixon, some of our children will be sent to a school that is fully H1 (most vulnerable) in its seismic rating.

Dixon has one wing that is rated H2 ­— the rest of our school has L or M for ratings: this means that, with the exception of the one wing (and it is not the highest risk for structural failure), the rest of our school does not even fall on the list of needing remediation.

The choice between placing children in an H1 school or keeping them in a far safer school should not even come up.

The rest of our children will be sent to a school that CANNOT accommodate them, necessitating four portables on the grounds and a school population of 572 (130 per cent enrolment).

To make it more challenging, this poor school has already been expanded once: the gym cannot accommodate all the children at the same time now, never mind if they have to take in all our kids.

The computer lab and library are built for 300 kids, meaning all children would lose time in those areas. Students from both schools will also lose time for core curriculum learning ­— something prioritized in the new curriculum.

Let’s not even touch on the fact that our teachers are going into the third year of working with the new curriculum goal of creating connections with the wider community, enabling students to build on their learning and knowledge of the greater world in which they live.

We are being asked to accept that sending some of our children to a significantly less safe school, and others to a school that will be massively over enrolled, require portables and impact their learning and resource time.

We are being asked to accept that our children must lose much with absolutely no surety that it will have any real impact on the district.

That is what the 500 people (350 chairs, 150-plus standing ­— our counter couldn’t accurately see outside the doorways where more were standing, so we only can account for the 150 standing)  were at our school to argue on Tuesday. And we will continue to do so.

Megan Riter

parent and co-chair

Dixon PAC

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