Trustees

Trustees

Gold Trail trustees accept school closure recommendations

School District 74 trustees accepted recommendations to close elementary schools in Ashcroft and Lytton and create K-12 schools instead.

School District 74 trustees have accepted the recommendations by staff to  close the elementary school buildings in Ashcroft and Lytton and create a K-12 school in the existing high schools.

“We would like to see Ashcroft Elementary stay open,” said Juanita Little, president of AES Parent Advisory Committee, addressing the trustees before they discussed the recommendations at their Sept. 17 open meeting. “If that isn’t possible, we are ready to move forward and look at the K-12 option.”

The recommendations were contained in a report written after last year’s Community Conversations which Gold Trail conducted around the region.

Chief Financial Officer Lynda Minnabarriet went through the 22 page report, The Future of Gold Trail Schools and Programs for the 45 or more members of the public who attended the meeting.

While Ashcroft Elementary’s enrolment is projected to increase slightly next year,  it needs $5.7 million in renovations to bring it to modern standards. And while the high school’s enrolment is projected to decrease again, it has sufficient space to accommodate all Ashcroft students as it is currently operating at less than 20 per cent capacity.

Schools in Cache Creek and Gold Bridge were left alone to allow communities to keep at least one school operating.

Minnabarriet noted that Cache Creek Elementary would also allow Ashcroft parents the option of sending their children to an elementary-only if they wished.

Motion – Ashcroft Secondary be renovated into a K-12 school. Carried unanimously.

“I would just like to say that nobody likes the prospect of closing schools,” said Ashcroft trustee Christopher Roden, “particularly when it is in one’s own community. I think we have to realize with age and impending costs of improvements, we have to seriously look at this.”

Motion – Ashcroft Elementary be closed effective the transition of Ashcroft Secondary to a K-12 facility. Carried unanimously with the amendment that it be contingent on the previous motion.

“The community does want to see this done right,” said Roden – “ a top grade K-12. We would want to postpone opening if it’s not ready.”

Motion – A new elementary school be requested for the community of Lillooet as part of the five year capital plan. Carried unanimously.

Motion – George M. Murray and Cayoosh Elementary be closed upon the opening of the new school. Carried unanimously.

Motion – Kumsheen Secondary be renovated into a K-12 facility. Carried unanimously.

“I’d just like to reiterate what trustee Roden said, that no one likes to close a school,” said trustee Mavourneen Varcoe Ryan, who is responsible for Lytton. “But we have to enter into discussion first if we want to know why it won’t work.”

“I’m looking forward to getting into the communities to talk about the future of community schools,” said Lillooet trustee Valerie Adrian.

“This is a decision to look at possibilities, not necessarily closure,” said chair Carmen Ranta, trustee for Cache Creek.

The board has 60 days to prepare the community consultations. No dates have been given yet.

Facilities Manager Mitch van Aller  presented his annual 5 Year Capital Plan to the board, which included  $12,250,000 for the Lillooet elementary replacement, and $8,287,434 for Kumsheen renovations.

He said Ashcroft Secondary has had many upgrades over the past three years and he doesn’t feel it will require major work to turn the building into a K-12 facility. He said the 5 Year Capital Plan only includes projects that will cost $1.5 million or more.

The parents need more information, said PAC president Juanita Little after the meeting. What will the cost be of running the school, she asked. What would a K-12 look like? Another concern, she said “is how will the move to K-12 affect the staff? We have great teachers, principal and support staff, so we want to know will they move over with us? What does that look like?”

She said when the school board first broached the idea of closing the elementary and creating a K-12 school in Ashcroft, the parents were very upset.”

But since then, parents have heard that the district has only so much money to support its aging schools, and enrolment figures just don’t justify keeping the buildings open.

“It’s a real struggle,” she said.

In those two years, Clinton moved to a K-12 school, with the parents actively engaged in its planning.

Last year, said Little, elementary students attended the high school several times for concerts and special occasions like Remembrance Day, and the students all seemed to interact well.

“Once the consultation meetings are set,” she said, “we’ll discuss how to get information out to people, and gather data on what sort of questions they want answered. “We’ll encourage everyone to take part and do what’s best for the kids.”

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read