Students and parents of five East Side elementary schools breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as trustees announced the schools would be saved from closure and that the process would be shelved until March 2012.

A Vancouver School Board report, which comes before the board for a vote on Dec. 14, calls for a moratorium on the proposed closures.

Board chairwoman Patti Bacchus said major public outcry against the closures had an impact on the board’s recommendation.

“What we heard absolutely convinced us that closing these schools was not the right solution,” she said, adding that enrolment is predicted to increase in the area.

“If we close this space down now, we’re in the position of having to reopen it in a couple of years. We could actually be financially further behind.”

Carleton Grade 5 teacher Scott Macdonald expressed his relief at a celebration rally yesterday.

“We believe that our schools have value,” he said. “Schools have to become centres of learning for the entire community.”

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