March 06, 2015 - 2:38 PM
NORTH OKANAGAN - A number of school closures are being eyed in the North Okanagan.
In a long term facilities plan released this week by School District 83, recommendations are made to consider shutting down and amalgamating schools over the next couple of years — all because enrolment numbers are beginning to stabilize after years of decline.
The district has been in funding protection mode for the past several years, which means the amount of money generated per student is increased by the province to help lessen the impact of declining enrolment and funds. With enrolment expected to stabilize within the next couple of years, the district will no longer receive funding protection, district communications officer Alice Hucul said.
“With dollars tight even with the extra funding, the district is looking at all areas to see what we can do to help reduce operating costs so we can use our funds as effectively as possible, to offer as best an education program as possible, to our students,” Hucul said.
School trustees will be asked to consider the report’s recommendations at a board meeting Mar. 10.
Among the recommendations are to close Silver Creek Elementary in Salmon Arm and redistribute students to other elementary schools in the city. In Sicamous, the board will be asked to consider closing Parkview Elementary and converting Eagle River Secondary to a K-12 school. In Armstrong, the board will be looking at closing Len Wood Middle School and making Pleasant Valley Secondary a grade 6-12 school. In the Enderby area, the possibility of shutting down Grindrod Elementary and redistributing students to M.V. Beattie or Ranchero Elementary Schools will be reviewed.
The board will also consider disposing of several properties no longer being used by the district.
If the board approves any recommendations, a 60 day consultation period will be held before changes are finalized.
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