SD73 opts against reopening schools — for now

By Greg Fry
December 12, 2017 - 11:48am

KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Thompson School Board has closed the door on reopening schools in the district — at least for now.

Last night, the board unanimously voted against reopening Westsyde and Ralph Bell elementary schools in the district. The motion not to reopen those schools was contained in the district's annual facilities report.

"We believed it to be more prudent this time to wait to look at reopening schools," School Board Chair Meghan Wade told CFJC Today. "We have a small buffer and should we receive any capital dollars that we are advocating for so hard in the coming budget in February or the announcements that are coming in March, that would change the discussion."

She added the district has no plans in the short term to place portables at either Westmount or Juniper in the coming year.

"So, we believed we had an opportunity to wait one year before we start looking at reorganizing Westmount and Juniper," said Wade, while at the same time acknowledging "there's is no way around the fact the City of Kamloops is facing enormous growth pressures."

She added the conversation around the table may change in the future.

"This is an annual report and it will come back to the board next year at this time and then we're going to know what our capital situation is and I believe it will be a different conversation."

The decision was cold comfort to Kamloops-Thompson Teachers' Association President Amanda Jensen.

"It wasn't what we were expecting. We certainly would have liked to have heard that some wheels were in motion," she told CFJC Today. "I agree with many of the district's positions on the difficulty of adding new bus routes and repurposing some of the schools in a timely manner however the impression that was provided to the public was that the district will do nothing and this is incredibly concerning when many of our schools are at least nearing capacity or within the next five years will be over capacity."

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