School district tustee Richard Franklin (left) meets with a group of parents and interested community members at meeting concerning closure at Discovery Passage Elementary in 2016. File photo

Campbell River school trustees want review of school closure effects

Board only wants information and is not reconsidering closure decisions

School District 72 is reviewing its decision to close schools in recent years.

The board asked staff to prepare a report on the subject, though trustees stress the move is not about re-considering the decisions.

Rather, they want to get more information about what effects the closures at Oyster River and Discovery Passage elementary schools have had. The board voted to close the schools in 2016, with students to be absorbed into catchment areas for adjacent schools.

RELATED STORY: Board votes to close both Discovery Passage and Oyster River schools

Veteran board member Daryl Hagen brought forward the request at the Nov. 27 board meeting.

“Sometimes, it’s good to look backwards and say, ‘Was it the right decision or not?’” he said. “It’s easy to look to the future, but sometimes it’s hard to look to the past because sometimes things don’t always work out the way we thought.”

Hagen wanted to make clear his request was not about re-opening any facilities but to re-examine the lessons that could be learned from the process. He noted there have been developments since the board made a decision to close the schools, such as changes in the language concerning classroom composition as well as developments happening in the community in the area near Oyster River, particularly with a subdivision developing at Dogwood Street and growth at the Ocean Grove school. He said he wants to determine if there have been unintended outcomes.

Trustee John Kerr expressed a bit of concern, saying he expects the majority of students who would have gone to Oyster River Elementary live north of York Road, which is closer to Ocean Grove Elementary, adding that if there were any move in the future to re-open a school, it could prove difficult to get students to return from the school they currently attend.

Trustee Joyce McMann supported the idea of looking at how the transition unfolded after initially getting feedback from parents following the closures.

“It would be nice to get an update,” she said, though she added she wants to make sure the review process does not take up excessive staff time. “I think there is a sort of a check-in that might take place that wouldn’t be too cumbersome.”

RELATED STORY: Possible Discovery Passage school closure ‘difficult to deal with’

Trustee Susan Wilson reiterated the point about getting an update, saying the district is approaching the halfway point of its 10-year facilities plan. The board, she said, could benefit from information about the different aspects of closing schools, which could be presented alongside other facilities plan information updates, such as the implementation of technology at school facilities. She did not want to give staff a firm deadline on the report though because of their other time commitments and priorities.

“It doesn’t have to be a really in-depth one,” she said. “It wouldn’t be the top of my priority list, but it would be of interest to get an update at some point.”

The motion carried. The staff report will consider factors such as cost savings and space implications, along with other implications for the district’s 10-year facilities plan.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: North Island Green Party nomination still to be determined

Moen says all issues should be viewed through environmental lens

COVID-19 has caused many changes for Port Hardy Fire Rescue so far this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue’s first and second quarterly reports for 2020 were reviewed by council.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

NDP candidate Babchuk a fixture in local politics since 2005

School trustee, city councillor and regional district chair sets sights on being North Island MLA

Sointula elementary school gets funding for new playground

Funding for the new playground comes from the provincial government’s Playground Equipment Program.

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Police seek help in naming Cowichan farm stand theft suspect

Video captured man prying cash box out of stand on Norcross Road

Most Read