CCES included in restructuring talks

School board heads back to community consultation for restructuring of local schools.

The Gold Trail Board of Education voted to amend the motion for school closure consultation to community consultation which will include Cache Creek, at a special March 7 meeting called to discuss the motion. Over 60 people attended, most of them members of the public, but many SD 74 staff members and local politicians, including MLA Harry Lali.Some spoke to the motion that would move Ashcroft elementary into the high school, making it clear they did not approve; most just came to listen and hope for the best.Shortly after the motion was brought forward for discussion – that the board onsider closing AES and restructuring the high school to provide K-12, early and adult education – Cache Creek trustee Carmen Ranta brought forward an amendment that was debated and finally passed by a slim majority.Her amendment changed the focus of the motion from school closure to a broader community consultation with Ashcroft – and Cache Creek. Her amendment called on the Board to consider restructuring facilities in the region to provide elementary, secondary, early learning and adult education.Ranta said the amendment was based on feedback that she and the board had received since the public received word of the original recommendation. “The amendment looks at opportunities but doesn’t look at closure at this time,” she said.Trustees Norm Leech and Nancy Rempel argued that the closure policy enabled more direct dialogue between the board and the public, calling it “honest and straight forward.”Ranta said after the meeting that her amendment had the approval of the Cache Creek PAC who wanted to be a part of the conversation. “Although we don’t want to see the school in Cache Creek close,” she said, “there may be a creative alternative that no one’s thought of yet.”Chair Valerie  Adrian said the consultation process will be the same one they had last Fall, but with more information this time.Administration will conduct the consultation, she said, and will have to finish by next January if they wish make a recommendation under the school closure policy.