South Nelson parent Tammy Everts spoke to the Kootenay Lake school board on Tuesday evening

Former SD8 trustee: ‘Our community is in shock’

Representatives from Jewett, Trafalgar, Winlaw and W.E. Graham decry potential closures.

“I fear our public system will suffer death by a thousand school closures.”

Those were the words of Nelson teacher’s union president Paul Boscariol during Tuesday evening’s Kootenay Lake school board meeting. He was seconding concerns already voiced by a number of parent representatives from Jewett, Trafalgar, Winlaw and W.E. Graham, all who face closures if the Kootenay Lake school board’s draft facilities plan goes ahead.

“The impacts are going to be huge,” Boscariol said. “What’s happening now is we’re all scurrying around as the ship’s going down, and everyone’s trying to grab a piece of flotsam to try to float.”

That’s not the right approach, according to him. Instead, he would like to see the school board and parents taking “the fight to the government.”

“We’re seeing this pitting of one against another here, and everyone wants to save their own school for equally valid reasons. But we need to ask you to rail against this government, because that’s where the problem lies. Not here.”

Parents came forward with PowerPoint presentations, letters, emails and impassioned speeches to plead with the board to change their mind.

“We’re working together, W.E. Graham and Winlaw, and we’re both being positive about seeking solutions,” said Lori Thompson, the vice chair for DPAC and member of Winlaw’s parent advisory council.

“My heart is at Winlaw. That school held my granddaughter emotionally while her Dad was dying, and it was the uniqueness of the environment of that school that got her through that period. That’s why we do want you to come back to the valley and hear what we have to say.”

Former Slocan Valley trustee and BCSTA president Penny Tees also spoke on behalf of W.E. Graham and Winlaw, saying she worked hard to “convince that community that you care about them, but now I’m not so sure.”

“Our community is in shock right now,” she said.

She invited the trustees to be transparent about their misgivings with the plan and the process, and to debate it openly. The trustees went on to do exactly that. Sharon Nazaroff admitted she considers both potential closures in Slocan Valley to be “bad options.”

“I believe we need a school in Slocan, but I also think that school is too big,” she said.

A Jewett parent gave a ten-minute presentation on the potential impacts of the closure, and pleaded with the board to visit the area. Slocan Valley parents also invited the board to visit them again.

Trustees Curtis Bendig and Bill Maslechko thanked all the parents for their feedback, and chair Lenora Trenaman made a point of repeatedly reminding all parents the plan is still in the draft stage.

And though almost nobody has voiced opposition to the closing of Trafalgar before Tuesday, former principal Bill McDonnell made sure to speak on its behalf.

“I wonder why there hasn’t been any public outcry or presentations made on behalf of that school. I wanted to share that we respect the history of that school, the students that have gone through it and the teachers who have worked there.”

Everybody clapped.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Happy birthday Kaslo

Village marks 125th birthday with reopening of city hall, sealing of time capsule

Nelson architecture firm to redesign Arrow Lakes Hospital

Cover Architecture Collaborative will work on the hospital’s emergency department

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Nelson council gives next council a raise

Size of increase disregards advice of appointed committee

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

Baloney Meter: is flow of asylum seekers at Canada-U.S. border a ‘crisis’?

“I think any time you have a government that allows 30,000 people over the course of a short period of time to come into Canada illegally, the impact that that has, that is a crisis,” said Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

B.C. RCMP say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled today

RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

Most Read