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Richmond parents groups hopeful ahead of school closure vote

(Mike LLoyd, NEWS 1130 Photo)

RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – A surprise move from the Richmond School Board this week has parents groups declaring victory.

The board has called a special meeting for Oct. 11 where they’ll vote on whether or not to suspend closure of three schools: Daniel Woodward Elementary, McKay Elementary, and Alfred B Dixon Elementary.

“I would be very surprised if the vote didn’t pass,” says Kim Nowitsky with Richmond Schools Stand United, one of the parents groups which has been fighting the closures for months. “I mean, they have invited all the parents and asked us to gather as many people as we can to come to the meeting… if it doesn’t go our way, I think they’d be setting themselves up for a lot of backlash.”

While she’s hopeful the vote will go their way, Nowitsky says there’s no guarantee the issue won’t come up again. Even if the closures are permanently delayed, she says her group’s work won’t be done.

“Unfortunately in Richmond we’re still waiting for seismic upgrades to happen to our schools,” she explains, “we have 24 schools that need to be remediated, and across the whole province, we have 30 percent of the most unsafe schools.”

Tuesday’s meeting was called shortly after the Vancouver School Board voted to suspend their school closure process. Richmond’s process was much further along, with closures expected to commence in fall 2017.