Saturday, April 12

Target the VSB trustees now! re: Designated Music Space @ Dickens Main School

Hi Dickens PAC Blog readers, 
The beginning of this letter is similar to that which went out via class lists. However, there are additional action items at the end of the message, should you want other ways to help save a designated music space at Dickens and to support music education in our district.

Thank you so much to Dickens families and community members for the overwhelming response to our call for letters to support saving the designated music space. We gathered 95 support letters at the main school on Monday & Tuesday and over 65 were sent via email directly to the VSB. We had a considerable stack to present to Mark Pearmain, from the VSB, at our meeting on Tuesday morning.

In our meeting with the VSB we were told that the board would not be willing to fund a portable or consider constructing any other designated music space at Dickens next year.

The only way that the VSB will change their decision is if the Trustees instruct them to do so. This is an election year and the Trustees are our elected officials. We are trying to now set up a meeting with our Trustees to discuss our need for a designated music space at Dickens.

The only way for us to Save Our Designated Music Space at Dickens is with another loud, large response from the parents and concerned community members to the Trustees. 

We are still committed to ensuring that every child in our neighbourhood can attend our school. We are still advocating for a designated music space at Dickens School. 


1. Target the trustees NOW! 
Modify the letters previously circulated and still on the PAC blog site, or write your own.

Ask the Trustee's to support having a designated permanent music space at Dickens in the form of a cost-saving, repurposed portable, not in use and recycled from another school.

Please email the following trustees:

Follow this link and click on each individual trustee's name to get their phone numbers.

2. Parents and community members are invited to provide input into the VSB budget.

The meetings for Public Input on 2014/2015 Preliminary Budget Proposals are April 15 at 7pm at Mount Pleasant Elementary and 8pm on April 16 at the VSB Education Centre.

We will be presenting at the Wednesday meeting which starts at 8pm at 1580 W Broadway.

Sarah Westwick will be representing Dickens, and our committee, as a music educator. A Dickens parent and student will also speak on our behalf.  We need as many people to attend as possible to support our Dickens save our designated music space campaign.
If you want any further information on  meeting please email Sarah Westwick at

The VSB is also accepting written submissions about the budget no later than two working days before the meeting so if you wish to send a letter, please do so before Monday to the Vancouver Board of Education, Attention: Administrative Coordinator, Secretary-Treasurer's Office, by email to or by fax to 604-713-5049.


1. MARIMBA FLASH MOB. Parents are organizing an event for the whole community and the media on the greenway in which some kids will be playing the marimbas.  Details to follow. 
Please let us know if your child would like to perform and/or speak to the media or if you can help organize this event. If you have media contacts, are social media savvy and/or work in public relations and want to help, please let us know. Photographers and videographers are also needed. Please contact Anne-Marie Long at

2.  One of the (many) reasons why there is such a financial shortfall on school boards is that the government is shifting half of the costs of seismic upgrades onto the school boards. Contact your elected officials at the provincial level and tell them to assume the cost of these necessary upgrades. (This won't happen soon enough to save our music space, but is a worthwhile endeavour to reduce the impact of recurring financial shortfalls on the quality of our kids' public education.)

You can also share your thoughts about the VSB's current budget with Premier Christy Clark <> (, Minister of Education Peter Fassbender <>  ( or Vancouver MLAs (contact info here:

3. The Vancouver School Board is proposing cutting to all elementary band and strings programs. An alternate proposal, instead of cutting the programs, would be to raise the cost of participation from the current $25 per student yearly, to $250 per student. Though realizing the tough position that the VSB is in, this is a fairly drastic step that has long term consequences to thousands of children. 

The Coalition for Musical Education in BC is leading a push to ensure that  proposal does not go through please use these links to show your support:  and they have a form letter here 

4. If you want to get more involved and/or have other ideas to share contact Anne-Marie Long at

Thanks for your support!
From Dickens parents,
Anne-Marie Long
Kathryn Sutherland
Christy Thomas (PAC co-chair)
Sarah Westwick

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