Many Vancouver public schools are old and have facility-related issues such as inefficient heating and cooling systems, leaky roofs and insufficient parking and/or bus loading/unloading zones. Many do not have sufficient room for large group work and/or do not support today’s teaching and learning needs. Nearly all are overcrowded and/or do not meet the requirements of recent legislation and a voter-approved initiative to reduce class sizes. Some 2,000 students currently learn in portable classrooms and spaces converted to classrooms for which they were not intended. Many schools also are not equipped to handle the projected enrollment growth for the next 10 years.
In addition, interest rates are at a 40-year historic low. Interest rates can make a difference to taxpayers. Like the interest rate on a loan, a low interest rate can mean a cost savings over time. If the district is not able to finance facility replacements and upgrades now, bond interest rates may be higher in the future. Every 1 percent that the bond interest rate goes up is projected to equal about $70 million in additional interest costs.