More public input sought on school closures in Parksville Qualicum Beach

A 90-day consultation period, required by the province, has started

The school board is looking for input on their plan to address empty seats and budget shortfalls through school closures.

A 90-day consultation period, required by the province and board policy 3040, has started and the Board of Education of School District 69 (Qualicum) is hosting the first public meeting next Wed., Feb. 12 at Springwood Middle School.

“The board is committed to being open to new information and that could lead to anything from fine tuning to big changes, everything’s open,” said secretary treasurer Erica Bailey.

On Jan. 28 the board passed a motion that they intend to act on the staff recommendations developed over two months of consultation, but not before April 29.

The main recommendation is to reconfigure the school district to a Kindergarten to Grade 7 and Grade 8-12 model, eliminating middle schools, likely resulting in school closures.

The recommendation includes closing four elementary schools (Qualicum Beach, Parksville, Winchelsea and French Creek) to adjust for 2,000 empty student spaces and help with a projected $3.6 million deficit over the next five years.

Board chair Lynnette Kershaw points out that the closures would only save half their shortfall and they are still looking for ideas to save money and generate revenue.

She said that is one of the goals of this consultation process, which will delve into the data more specifically and she encourages people to review the work to date, available at www.sd69.bc.ca under the ‘Quick Links.’

“A lot of people still don’t know what’s going on,” Kershaw said, so there will be a lot of information at the coming meetings, where they will also be looking for specific and constructive ideas that might help.

There are eight meetings scheduled with staff and the public in schools and other meetings will be added with stakeholder groups including unions, government officials, chambers of commerce and other interested parties.

A special board meeting is scheduled for Tue., April 29 at 7 p.m. in the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre Forum to approve the facilities option in time also pass the 2014-15 preliminary budget.

More information, including the staff report and public presentations, is available at www.sd69.bc.ca. There is also a dedicated e-mail for questions and input: Facilities2014@sd69.bc.ca.

Initial meeting schedule:

Public Consultation    Wed., Feb. 12    7:00 p.m.    Springwood Middle School

Staff Consultation    Wed., Feb. 19    12:30 p.m.    Springhill Rd. maintenance site

Staff Consultation    Wed., Feb. 19    3:45 p.m.    Kwalikum Secondary

Public Consultation    Mon., Feb. 24    7:00 p.m.    Qualicum Beach Middle School

Public Consultation    Thur., March 13    7:00 p.m.    Oceanside Middle School

Staff Consultation    Mon., April 7    3:45 p.m.    Springwood Middle School

Public Consultation    Wed., April 16    7:00 p.m.    Springwood Middle School

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Illegal waste-dumping spikes in Regional District of Nanaimo during 2019

Last year the RDN collected 74 tonnes last year

Iconic white raven returns to Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Photographer John Domovich: ‘It blew me away when I first observed it’

Parksville’s Summer by the Sea event starts June 30

‘We are looking forward to providing a vibrant market’

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

Black Lives solidarity demonstration fills Nanaimo park

Anti-racism protest held at Maffeo Sutton Park on Friday afternoon

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Most Read