Richmond School District Board of Trustees

Eric Yung                   eyung@sd38.bc.ca
Alice Wong                alwong@sd38.bc.ca
Debbie Tablotney      dtablotney@sd38.bc.ca
Ken Hamaguchi         khamaguchi@sd38.bc.ca
Donna Sargent          dsargent@sd38.bc.ca
Sandra Nixon             snixon@sd38.bc.ca
Jonathan Ho               jonho@sd38.bc.ca

British Columbia Ministry of Education

Honourable Mike Bernier (BC Liberal Party)
Minister of Education, MLA Peace River South
PO Box 9045 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9E2

Dave Byng
Deputy Minister of Education
PO Box 9179, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9H8

Premier of British Columbia

Honourable Christy Clark (BC Liberal party)
Premier of British Columbia, MLA Westside–Kelowna
PO Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W9E1

Richmond MLAs

Honourable John Yap (BC Liberal party)
MLA Richmond–Steveston
#115-4011 Bayview Street,
Richmond, BC V7E 0A4

Honourable Linda Reid (BC Liberal party)
Deputy Speaker, MLA Richmond East
130 – 8040 Garden City Road
Richmond, BC V6Y 2N9

Honourable Teresa Wat (BC Liberal Party)
MLA Richmond Centre
300-8120 Granville Ave
Richmond, BC V6Y 1P3

British Columbia Ministry of Finance

Honourable Michael de Jong (BC Liberal Party)
Minister of Finance, MLA Abbotsford West
Po Box 9048 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W9E2
Mike.deJong.MLA@leg.bc.ca *
FIN.Minister@gov.bc.ca *
*Note: The Finance Minister does not use email. This will reach his office/department.

Official Opposition Critic for Education

Honourable Rob Fleming (BC NDP Party)
MLA Victoria – Swan Lake
1020 Hillside Ave
Victoria, BC V8T 2A3


Richmond News / Letter to the Editor

Vancouver Courier / Letter to the Editor

Vancouver Sun / Letter to the Editor (maximum 200 words)
http://vancouversun.com/contact     and     sunletters@vancouversun.com

The Province / Letter to the Editor
http://www.theprovince.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor.html    and    provletters@theprovince.com

September 22, 2016

Hon. Mike Bernier, Minister of Education
PO Box 9045 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9E2

Dear Minister Bernier,

The public school system in British Columbia is dangerously eroded. The citizens of BC need a leader to ensure that fundamental aspects of the school system are protected. In Richmond and elsewhere in BC, parents are passionately concerned about protecting the cornerstones of vibrant communities, schools. Presently, they are under threat of closure while seismic remediation funding has not been forthcoming.

While the provincial government does not have jurisdiction to open or close schools within school districts, it has set the underlying policy that ensures schools will close. The BC government counts empty classrooms in a way that defies logic. Specialized rooms for enriched learning opportunities, such as music or art are counted as empty classrooms. A childcare room is considered an empty classroom, unless the room is purpose–built in a new school. Resources for children with special needs are reduced to the bare minimum. In addition, when schools have to increase their enrollment, that means fixed school resources such as the gym and library will be over-utilized. The difference between how many students the School Board knows will fit in a school and the number of students the Ministry thinks will fit in a school amounts to 1,135 seats, or three average sized elementary schools.

The Ministry of Education’s new guidance that each school will be considered on a case by case basis for seismic upgrading is nearly as bad as the previous policy. Now that there are no targets for enrollment, and no concrete guidelines of any kind, the process to obtain seismic funding is the exact opposite of a transparent and accountable policy. Shouldn’t the process to get children into safe schools be easily interpreted and enacted? While other districts may have seismic funding announcements, Richmond’s schools haven’t been upgraded since 2011. There are 24 schools which require upgrading, representing over 7,000 children. When will the Ministry of Education approve schools for upgrade in Richmond?

I am asking you to change the way the Ministry of Education calculates enrollment capacity in order to allow for the spaces that support an optimal learning environment for children. I am also asking you to immediately release seismic upgrade funding so that work can promptly begin on upgrades that will save the lives of children when the expected “Big One” hits coastal BC.

I am asking you to be a champion of students as the Minister of Education, and to encourage the growth of a school system where children have the opportunity to access a quality public education in a school that was above all safe.


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