Parents at the proposed school amalgamation in Ashcroft listen.

Ashcroft parents skeptical of planned school merger

Approximately 60 parents attended a meeting held by School District 74 to discussed the proposed amalgamation of Ashcroft's two schools.

Parents and residents met in Ashcroft’s high school gym last week to get answers about the school board’s proposed amalgamation of the town’s only elementary school with the high school.

Roughly 75 people, including about 20 staff and board members, gathered around tables to  formulate questions and feedback for Gold Trail School District.

Some parents were supportive of the amalgamation, hoping that the increase in numbers under one school roof would result in more elective class options such as the reopening of the shop class. Some parents wanted to ensure that the redesign to accommodate the elementary students was well-thought out for young minds and bodies. And some parents were just dead set against it, wondering why it had to be Ashcroft Elementary and not Cache Creek, and why more money hadn’t been spent on renovations to bring AES up to standard.

Basketball and fitness coach Vicky Trill said her only concern would be the gym. “How are we going to have time for community groups?” she asked. On the other hand, she added, it would provide an “awesome opportunity” for the grade 7s and 8s to play on the same team.

Principal Colleen Minnabarriet replied to a question about the Ashcroft K-12 design available at the meeting by saying that it was very much a draft design, and that if the board decided to pursue the amalgamation of schools, many meetings would be held to design the reconfigured school.

She and other staff members stressed that the high school had plenty of room to house the high school students along with the elementary.

One parent asked why they didn’t close Cache Creek Elementary as well and move them into the high school.

“The board has indicated that they value having a school in every community,” Superintendent Teresa Down replied.

Director of Facitlities, Mitch van Aller, said the Ministry gives each school district a set amount of funding every year for capital projects, under which renovations fall. He said the lump sum divided equally among all of the District’s schools amounts to about $87,000 per year, and it is never enough to keep up with the upgrades that are needed. AES needs over $5 million to successfully bring it up to standard, but the Ministry won’t approve it.

Van Aller said they have more chance of getting extra dollars from the Ministry if they have one school full of children, rather than two schools that are operating at less than half full.

Some parents wondered if the District’s rumoured $6 million surplus could be used to fix AES. Chief Financial Officer Lynda Minnabarriet said the District had only a $2.2 million surplus as of June, and much of it did go into renovations. She said upgrades across the District would cost approximately $50 million.

“My concern as superintendent of this District is that if we continue down this path, with all the “poor” condition schools,” said Downs, “we will have to reduce student support in order to pay for the buildings.”

The board of trustees is holding a special open meeting in Ashcroft on Nov. 20 to discuss and vote on the recommendation to close AES and restructure the high school as a K-12.

If they decide to accept the recommendation, they will begin planning how the combined school will be put together.

Just Posted

Police asking for assistance regarding trafffic fatality near Clinton

A single male occupant was killed on Oct. 21 when his car went off the highway.

Regional directors in Areas “E” and “I” returned

Sally Watson and Steve Rice returned, according to preliminary final counts.

Ashcroft has a new mayor

Barbara Roden has been elected to sit in the top chair

Cache Creek elects new mayor for first time in 28 years

Newcomer Santo Talarico becomes Cache Creek mayor

Susan Swan wins Clinton mayor chair by one vote

Incumbent councillor defeats former mayor and two other contenders.

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read