School District No. 91 announces school closures

School District No. 91 (Nechako Lakes) has reached a decision to close schools in Fort St. James and Fort Fraser.

  • Jul. 1, 2015 12:00 p.m.

School closure Fort Fraser

Flavio Nienow

Lakes District News

 

 

 

School District No. 91 (Nechako Lakes) has reached a decision to close schools in Fort St. James and Fort Fraser.

Sowchea Elementary in Fort St. James and Fort Fraser Elementary will close as of June 30, 2015.

The board of education voted to close both schools after a 60-day consultation period. Two public meetings were held in both Fort Fraser and Fort St. James. Manu Madhok, Director of Instruction for School District No. 91, said community members offered possible alternate solutions to closing the schools.

“The Fort St. James community presented the board with a very well done proposal around creating neighbourhood schools,” he said. “Although that proposal was insufficient to keep Sowchea Elementary open, the board is hopeful to keep working with that community on some of their key ideas and concepts for the existing two schools.”

Fort St. James Mayor Rob MacDougall said he understands that the board of education was faced with a very difficult decision.

“I respect that decision; I know it was tough,” he said. “Having been involved in this decision-making process, I know it was not easy; they did it with heavy hearts.”

The approximately 125 students from Sowchea Elementary will be amalgamated into David Hoy Elementary, creating a combined school of just over 260 students. David Hoy’s operational capacity is assessed by the Ministry of Education at 345 students.

The approximately 50 students from Fort Fraser Elementary will be amalgamated into Mouse Mountain Primary School and Fraser Lake Elementary Secondary School.

Madhok said a continuous decline in enrollments was the reason for the school closures.

In the Fort St. James area, the school district has seen a decline in enrollments from 900 students in 2000/01 (grades k–12) to 594 students in the 2014/15 school year.

In the Fort Fraser/Fraser Lake area, the school district has seen a decline in enrollments from 664 to 464 students over that same period.

“School closures are not a pleasant part of running a school district,” said Madhok. “However, the reality is that we have far fewer students in our communities; by closing these two schools we have increased utilization of our existing schools and have ensured that the board is being fiscally responsible in allocating the majority of their resources towards students rather than partially empty buildings.”

“We hope to see our community populations stabilize in the next few years so that we don’t have to continue dealing with declining enrollments,” he added.

Over the last five years, School District No. 91 has closed Topley Elementary School in Topley, Muriel Mould Primary School in Burns Lake, and Prairiedale Elementary School in Vanderhoof.

 

Just Posted

Wind causes power outage across Vanderhoof and the north

Saying its windy today would be an understatement. There are power outages… Continue reading

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results from our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

Raptors Bling: NBA champions receive their rings in pre-game ceremony

There are over 650 diamonds — at a weight of 14 carats — in the 14-karat yellow gold ring

Greta Thunberg declines invitation to Victoria due to time, not ferry emissions

Thunberg confirmed that she will be joining a climate strike at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday

‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support as Liberals re-elected

The idea is getting interest from people in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of British Columbia

Feds finally decriminalizing drugs possible – but it’s up to Jagmeet Singh, expert says

National pharmacare was one of Singh’s most highly-touted platform policies

In the news: Wexit, Brexit and Trump sparks outrage

There’s been a surge of support for an Alberta separatist group

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Most Read