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VANCOUVER—A grassroots coalition of parents, community members, and concerned organizations (including CUPE BC), are trying to keep a small Eastside annex school open and viable for years to come. A small group of parents from Garibaldi Annex worked together to form the Garibaldi Action Committee by gathering interest and support from families, the broader community and other organizations. 

The Garibaldi Action Committee organized community meetings, developed community surveys, analyzed a variety of proposals from community members, balanced them with the VSB criteria and produced an impressive document that was presented to the Vancouver School Board (VSB) in March. The VSB was to respond to the report this past Monday, April 21.

A busload of Garibaldi Action Committee members and their families, wearing bright blue t-shirts and armed with their banner and CUPE Strong Community signs, arrived at the VSB meeting on April 21 to hear the outcome of their efforts. 

Although the VSB trustees did not respond to the proposal with a resounding “yes”, (although all COPE trustees voted in support of the proposal) they admitted that they were unable to answer without further thought and set a date for another meeting on May 5.

CUPE is concerned about the trend to close schools because of declining enrolment, rather than finding uses for available classrooms through community partnerships,” says Barry O’Neill, president of CUPE BC.  “The Garibaldi Action Committee plan would use Garibaldi Annex for the benefit of the whole community.  The work of this small community group exemplifies what CUPE stands for – strong and sustainable communities.”
Get more information about The Garibaldi Action Committee and read their proposal on their blog site (garibaldiannex.blogspot.com).  You can even buy a bright blue t-shirt for only $10!

Show solidarity for this little school with a big heart by coming to the next VSB open meeting on Monday, May 5.  The meeting is at 7 pm in the Board
Education Centre located at 1580 West Broadway, Vancouver.  And you can write to the Chair and Trustees of the VSB in support of keeping Garibaldi open:  Vancouver School Board, 1580 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V6J 5K8.