Alberni School Closure: Wood parents make case

The last public session was held at Wood Elementary School on Thursday night before a crowd of more than 100 parents and supporters.

Public consultation about closing a school in Port Alberni is over and all that remains in the final decision.

School District 70’s final public engagement session was held at Wood Elementary School on Thursday night before a crowd of more than 100 parents and supporters.

School District 70 is considering closing either Wood and or Gill school in an effort to deal with lower enrollment, as well as increased transportation and downloaded costs.

Wood is located above the tsunami zone, can hook up to the city’s district energy regime if it’s hatched, and as a single-level building is better suited for handicapped access, resident Carolyn Jasken said.

If Wood is closed and VAST moved in then what are the costs to prepare VAST for that, Jasken asked. Superintendent Cam Pinkerton replied the district’s maintenance department estimated $10,000.

VAST has been located where it is for 10 years and there has been no vandalism, Pinkerton said. Students would likely do the same thing if the school was moved to Wood, he added.

District officials looked at school reconfiguration scenarios as a solution but it doesn’t work in the short term, Pinkerton said. The district looked at a Grades K-7 and Grades 8-12 regime but doing this requires fewer students and two other school would have to be closed to accommodate it, he said. The idea still may be considered in the future, Pinkerton added.

School board chair Larry Ransom broached the Gill closure scenario saying Gill students would be absorbed into Alberni and Wood Elementary schools. Some 400 students may not necessarily be displaced as has been speculated but Ransom didn’t elaborate how this could be accomplished.

There are 205 students who live in Wood’s catchment area but only 150 attend the school. Fifty-one students who live in the area attend schools other than French immersion, Pinkerton said.

Eliminating three positions and administrative redundancies at the school board office would help keep a school open, DPAC chair Maggie O’Niel said.  “Why can’t you just suck it up and find the money?”

At Tuesday’s Gill school meeting, Pinkerton said that the school board office already cut more than $300,000 from its admin budget and has the smallest administration of any district its size.

The district could save $85,000 by going to a two-week spring break, Alberni PAC Chair Cathy Braiden said. “It’s not $300,000 but it’s a start,” she said.

The district examined the idea before but were lobbied hard by union interests not to go that route, Ransom said. “If they came to us now we’d be willing to talk,” he said.

Trustees are set to make their decision on Feb.12.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

Just Posted

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Alberni Valley Community Foundation seeks grant recipients

The Alberni Valley Community Foundation is accepting applications for grants to be… Continue reading

BCHL: Bulldogs beat Cowichan in double OT

Teams are 1–1 in three-game home-and-home stand; play in Cowichan Jan. 20

Port Alberni city council to ‘stay on course’ for five-year budget plan

Next budget meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m

Alberni businesses nominated for Island excellence

Coulson Ice Blast, Port Posh Wash, the Blue Marlin Inn and Totem… Continue reading

Floods, power lines down on Bamfield Road

Power outage affecting more than 400 customers

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

UPDATE: Ferries sailing again after stormy weather caused cancellations

B.C. Ferries cancelled numerous sailings around Vancouver Island today, Jan. 21

Homes, roads flooded in Whiskey Creek following downpour

Crews aid flooded homeowners while roads near Hwy 4 closed Sunday morning

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Most Read