Province throws lifeline to closing rural schools

Premier Christy Clark announces fund to keep schools open in Osoyoos, Summerland, Winlaw and Campbell River district

Education Minister Mike Bernier

The B.C. government has announced a new “rural education enhancement fund” designed to allow local school districts to keep rural schools open that were expected to be closed.

Districts will have to apply for provincial funds with an estimate of savings they would realize from closing a school.

The fund is specifically offered to districts where school closures are pending, including Quesnel school district, where Kersley and Parkland elementary schools were set to close. Premier Christy Clark announced the fund at a chamber of commerce meeting in Quesnel Wednesday.

Other eligible districts are:

• Okanagan Similkameen, where Osoyoos secondary was scheduled to close

• Kootenay Lake, where elementary schools in Yahk and Winlaw were proposed for closure

• Bulkley Valley, where Lake Kathlyn elementary was scheduled to close

• Okanagan Skaha, where Trout Creek elementary in Summerland was expected to close

• Campbell River, where Oyster River elementary and Discovery Passage school in Duncan Bay were expected to close

Bernier said the expected cost of the program is $2.7 million this year, and will be ongoing in future years. It is available to districts outside the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria and Kelowna areas.

Bernier, in Quesnel this week for a B.C. Liberal caucus retreat, said he visited Kersley elementary, where students would have to ride a school bus for an hour an a half a day if the community school closed.

Community protests have been ongoing for weeks in Osoyoos, where high school students would have had to bus to Oliver to complete graduation.

“The whole point of this is to look at unique circumstances like Osoyoos,” Bernier told reporters in a conference call.

More than 300 people turned out to a community meeting in Winlaw Monday, where they announced they were raising money to sue the school district to keep their school open.

 

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

Just Posted

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Parksville soccer player invited to elite soccer academy in Portugal

Wylee Franks aspires to become a professional player

Qualicum Beach volunteer Mark Watson honoured for 30 years of service at fire hall

‘He has such a good spirit in everything that he does’

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Comox’s Kassidy Stewart takes Miss Teen BC title

She is set now to compete in nationals this summer

Shopping resumes aboard Nanaimo ferry sailings

B.C. Ferries reopens gift shops on Queen of Cowichan and Queen of Oak Bay

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Island Health provides Baby Beds for infants

A safe place for baby to sleep is key to reduce sleep-related deaths

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Most Read