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The process has now begun to close three schools in Quesnel.
Parkland, Ecole Baker and Kersley elementary schools are now officially on the chopping block.
The Board of Education made that decision at last (Jan 20) night’s meeting much to the dismay of a packed Chuck Mobley Theatre at Correlieu Secondary School.
Board Chair Tony Goulet stresses however that this is not necessarily their final decision.
He says they will now go through a 60 day consultation process and after that they could decide to close just two schools, one or even none at this point.
Goulet says the Board won’t make it’s final decision until it’s March 30th meeting.
Any school closures would take effect at the start of the next school year.
As for why the Board is in this predicament, Goulet says it comes down to declining enrollment and a lack of funding from the Provincial Government.
He says things like MSP and Hydro increases aren’t covered along with salary increases for it’s workforce that are negotiated by the province.
Looking at some of the numbers from the report from the Cornerstone Planning Group that recommended that the Board go this route…the capacity at Baker is at 27 percent while Kersley is at 39 and Parkland 65.
The district as a whole is at 37 percent.
The cost per student to deliver education was highest at Kersley at $10,452 while Parkland was next at 9,410 and that doesn’t include hauling water out there.
Baker came in in the middle of the pack in this category at $7,398 per student.
Recent school closures in Quesnel include Richbar in 2002, Maple Drive Junior Secondary in 2003, West Fraser elementary wasn’t replaced in 2004 following a fire and Narcosli was closed in 2014.
MLA Coralee Oakes, meanwhile, vowed to take concerns over the school closures to Victoria.
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