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

Just Posted

Nanoose Bay traffic update: paving postponed but closure extended on Northwest Bay Road

Mainroad Contracting halts paving while City of Parksville waits on contractors

Group aims to preserve French Creek tree

Save Estuary Land Society says bald eagles used tree for nest

Farewell to Parksville Beach Festival for 2019

People’s Choice Awards tallied, organizers report another successful year

Oceanside RCMP officer makes Alexa’s Team

Munro able to stop and process 15 impaired motorists during the past year

Oceanside Generals boost arsenal for coming VIJHL season

Coach Lemmon gets a good look at players at main camp

Groovy wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Vancouver Island senior found safe with help from six search and rescue teams

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush in north Nanaimo

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Hearings begin as Vancouver Island mom fights for allegedly abducted daughter

Tasha Brown now in Jersey in the British Isles, fundraiser being held in Nanaimo

Most Read