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

Gingras is turning in her leash with animal control

After 28 years, the ACO is leaving her position with Penticton/Summerland Animal Control

Ask candidates tough questions

Municipal election is Oct. 20

Chinese author tackles racism and reconciliation

David Wong says cultural diversity should not be feared

Manfred Bauer seeks re-election as mayor of Keremeos

Bauer has been on council since 2005 and in mayor’s chair since 2011

Arlene Arlow seeks Keremeos mayor role

Candidate has served two terms on Keremeos council

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

Man arrested after carjacking, collision, pepper spray attacks in Vancouver

Vancouver police say one man is in custody after a chaotic scene of events in the downtown core

Canadian investigator says World Anti-Doping Agency got a bad deal from Russia

A Canadian lawyer says the World Anti-Doping Agency rushed into accepting a bad deal by reinstating the country’s drug-testing program.

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

New evacuations ordered because of Florence flooding

Emergency managers on Friday ordered about 500 people to flee homes along the Lynches River

B.C. doctor weighs in on the kid ‘screen time’ debate

A Maple Ridge mother opens up about her children’s use of tablets, smartphones and television

B.C. councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read