In 2002, the Ministry of Education made significant changes to the funding formula that removed school space as a funded cost category and moved to a per pupil based formula to determine grant allocations.
The Board recognized that demographic changes – such as the aging population and smaller families – have resulted in declining enrolment so the funding formula changes would necessitate school closures and fewer new schools. These closure decisions created the impetus to develop a land management strategy.
By June 2012, the School District will find itself in the position of having 11 properties not in use as public schools.
Students come first
Land management considerations must be sound and will be aligned with the value the community places upon a thriving public education system. As stewards of public funds, the School District must demonstrate that revenue from its asset management initiatives not only offer financial returns but also are in the best interests of students and the community over the long-term.
The community seeks high-quality education
The community of North Vancouver is distinguished by high expectations for its public services, particularly public education. The desire for high-quality, diverse, personalized and enriched education opportunities for students is widespread and challenges the School District to ensure that all its assets are managed to realize their full potential as resources, and possible revenue opportunities.
Provincial funding must be supplemented
The primary funding of school district operations is centralized provincially, and not supported by local taxation. This scenario places limitations on our ability to increase our funding to support local educational initiatives while attending to an aging infrastructure that is costly to maintain. Within this environment, however, there exist a number of revenue opportunities for school districts to improve their financial resiliency in order to best serve student needs.
Financial resiliency can strengthen education opportunities
When carefully managed, the real estate assets of the North Vancouver School District can strengthen its position as a provider of world-class educational programs and services. In balance, facilities rentals, short and long-term leases, and surplus land sales all offer potential for the School District to optimize its assets, increase revenues and better its financial ability to offer the rich diversity of programs and services expected by our community.
The benefits of potentially repurposing land in the community goes beyond the School District. For example, releasing land for development creates new opportunities for community revitalization. Urban space is a finite resource, and ensuring it is available to serve the highest and best use within the community is of value to all residents and taxpayers.