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

Lack of security: why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline

Big Read: agriculture a big, expensive commitment as advocates push to make us more food secure

Earth Day 2018 focuses on ending plastic pollution

“Choose one easily changeable plastic item that you can work to eliminate from your day-to-day life.”

Tofino Shorebird Festival ready for flight

Annual event raises awareness of tiny travellers

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

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

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

G7 warned of Russian threats to western democracy

Ukraine foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin warns G7 of Russian war against Western democracy

Royal baby: It’s a boy for Kate and William

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child, a boy weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

Most Read