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.

 

Just Posted

Vehicle catches fire near China Creek Marina

No injuries in blaze, according to witnesses

North Island College issues brief statement on bomb threat

Threat forced college to close all campuses for one day

Premier wades into fishery closure debate

John Horgan questions the federal government’s approach

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Horse riders resurrect public riding ring near Port Alberni

Open house planned for July 22 so public can check out Beaver Creek facility

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Firefighters put out brush fire in Nanaimo

Fire broke out in the area of a new development under construction in East Wellington

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Most Read