Recent History – 2003
September 23, 2003
By Gary Rusak, Daily News Staff
With School District 59 taking a serious look at school space this month the possibility of school closures in the future looms. At its last regular meeting on September 17th the district’s board of trustees announced that it would review the problem of shrinking enrolment and empty classrooms.
“We know that providing support and resources to students can be a real challenge for schools that are continuing to get smaller,” said School Board chair Wayne Ezeard. “With this review we will certainly be looking for the best possible ways of delivering service to students. Reviewing the operation of
our current school facilities will be part of this process.”
Enrolment in the South Peace District has continued to decline by about two per cent a year. For the South Peace District overall enrolment has dropped from 5,900 to 4,900 in the past ten years.
The review will look into an appropriate response to the problem by identifying the best possible use of resources for each school. The review is expected to begin later this month. Tentative proposals are expected to be in place by the end of November. There will then be a component of community involvement in the process with a series of meetings for parents and the public to review the findings. Of course, one response to the problem is to start closing redundant
and unused school facilities.
“School closures is certainly one of the possible outcomes of the process,” said Mike Downey, Superintendent of Schools, “If the question is whether the closure of one or more schools is on the table, the answer would have to be ‘yes’.”
However, it is not a step that the board will take lightly. Downey went on to say that if such a proposal was made the opportunity for affected parents and students to address their concerns to the board would be provided.
The final proposals will be available after Christmas with the earliest possible implementation of any plans slated for September 2004.