Jewett closure top-ranked option for Kaslo-area schools

Jewett elementary school in Meadow Creek would close under the top-ranked reconfiguration option for Kaslo-area schools presented Monday.

Under one scenario presented Monday night

Jewett elementary school in Meadow Creek would close under the top-ranked reconfiguration option for Kaslo-area schools presented Monday night, but young students wouldn’t necessarily leave the community.

According to secretary-treasurer Kim Morris, the scenario calls for kindergarten to Grade 3 students to be moved to the community hall and Grade 4 and 5 students to be bussed to J.V. Humphries in Kaslo.

“In both of our very small rural communities, Meadow Creek and Yahk, as part of planning and research we met with hall societies and toured their facilities,” Morris said.

“We know keeping K-3 students is paramount to the community and board. Is there a way to keep those learners in the community, but not necessarily in an 80 or 90 per cent underused facility?”

Morris said under the proposal they might renovate the hall or move a portable onto the property. While no agreements have been signed, “it’s an idea that might work and allow us to keep those youngest learners in the community.”

Due to their geographic isolation, Jewett and Yahk receive supplementary funding from the Ministry of Education, which would be lost if students left the communities altogether.

Jewett presently has about 15 students between kindergarten and Grade 5, although its enrolment fluctuates between a dozen and 20. It has a principal and a part-time teacher.

Two other options presented Monday also involved closing Jewett, two were essentially the status quo, and one involved changing Crawford Bay school to a K-9 and moving Grades 10-12 to L.V. Rogers in Nelson.

Morris said there was a small turnout at the meeting. In addition to district staff, there was one trustee and two members of the public.

Another meeting will be held in Salmo tonight, and the final meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at Mount Sentinel to discuss Slocan Valley schools.

At the first meeting last week in Nelson, the top option presented was to close Trafalgar middle school and convert the city’s schools to K-6 and 7-12.

The district has emphasized that this round of community presentations is to share data and gather feedback. Trustees have made no decisions.

The deadline for responses is March 28. Afterward, another series of meetings will be held to present a draft plan. Parents will then have until April 30 to weigh in again.

(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that Jewett and 15 students in kindergarten and Grade 5.)

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