Kootenay Lake School Board moves slowly with new facilities plan
Closing Trafalgar Middle School is just one of the options on the table as the Kootenay Lake School board floated its final draft plan surrounding the re-configuring use of facilities in District 8.
Declining enrolment, extremely high maintenance costs and aging infrastructure were the key issues behind the board’s decision, and after hundreds of hours and multiple public meetings during the past two years, the Kootenay Lake School board is ready to move forward with their plan.
“We have to start somewhere,” Lenora Trenaman board chair with the Kootenay Lake School District told the meeting Tuesday at Board Office on the North Shore.
“We’ve put a lot of work into this over the last couple of months and our trustees and staff have put in an uncountable amount of time into this, and the reason why we’re doing it is because we want to put more dollars into the classrooms.
“We want more services, programs and opportunities for our kids.”
Trenaman emphasized to the meeting, staff and parents attending the meeting this is a “draft plan” and nothing is final.
“We have to have someplace to start the conversation and it doesn’t mean the conversation is over,” Trenaman said.
“We have every intent to come out to our communities, and spend time trying to come up with what works best for our kids.”
The top scoring scenarios for each family of schools in the District is as follows, and these scenarios will be the ones discussed as the most likely to happen during the next round of meetings.
S-3: Close Salmo Elementary; K-12 at Salmo Secondary School with Addition
C-6: Decommission Bubble, C-11 Close Creston Ed Centre, move to ARES OR find a community partner to buy and leaseback and C-1: Close Yahk, Move to Canyon Lister
SV3: Close Winlaw Elementary, Move to W.E. Graham
SV-16: Close W.E. Graham, move K-6 to Winlaw Elementary, 7-10 to Mount Sentinel High School.
KC-4: Close Jewett Elementary in Meadow Creek/K-3 to Hall/4-5 J.V. Humphries Kaslo
N-30 Close Trafalgar Middle School, K-7 with Central Elementary reopening (Wildflower K-9, Grade 6-7 French Immersion and K-7 English Track at Central), Rebuild South Nelson Elementary on Trafalgar property, Addition to Blewett Elementary
Of course, due to the nature of such a colossal effort and the intent from the board to accommodate and include everyone in the process, there were several concerns from parents and teachers voiced during the meeting.
The potential for alternate programs like Wildflower and Reach experiencing cross contamination when sharing facilities with traditional public school has some parents worried that interactions at recess may be detrimental to the preferred education route for their children i.e. Wildflower students playing with other students who are using the cell phones.
“Is this configuration the right one to support all programs,” one parent asked.
Other fears put to the board included some from Slocan Valley residents concerned about the ability for single parents to ensure their children can actually attend a different school should that scenario go forward.
The next set of meetings kicks off Wednesday at Winlaw Elementary school, and continuing March 31st at Salmo Secondary School, April 4th at Central School Gym, Nelson, April 6th at PCSS Auditorium, Creston, and April 7th J.V. Humphries School, Lighthouse.
The complete draft plan is now linked on the Kootenay Lake School Board Website.