Redfish elementary school parents want the school board to consider returning Grade 6 and 7 students to the primary level.
At a recent Parent Advisory Council meeting parents expressed three main concerns fueling their desires to have middle school students return to elementary schools in the district.
They want to reduce transitions of students at a “sensitive age,” expressed concerns about the welfare of Trafalgar students and are upset at the declining condition of the school itself.
“We understand that there are many things to consider with such an undertaking but implore you to look seriously at our request,” wrote Redfish PAC chair Simon Beresford to the board.
Notes taken from the January 23 PAC meeting have parents speaking up about unrestricted Wi-Fi use with viral pornographic images appearing on devices. They’re concerned about unaccounted for absences, inadequate lunch supervision and attendance on field trips without proper permission slips being completed.
Parents also spoke out about the physical safety of their children in such an old building.
“Trafalgar has been in poor condition for decades and continues to decline,” said Beresford. “We have concerns over air and water quality as there are a number of reports of poor experience of both.”
Kootenay Lake school board heard the concerns from Redfish parents at a board meeting held February 4. Trustee Lenora Trenaman, who was present at the Redfish PAC meeting, said parents strongly opposed the reconfiguration that saw Grade 6 students moved to middle school.
“Their opinion hasn’t changed,” Trenaman told the board. “They just want their students back.”
It was explained that the principal at Trafalgar had addressed some worries raised by parents, but the board said it was unable to consider parents’ request to reconfigure elementary schools to include Grades K to 7 at this time.
A facilities committee review comes before any entertaining in a dialogue on the reconfiguration of the Nelson family of schools, they said.
In December, Kootenay Lake school district trustees were again told there is no provincial funding available for a Trafalgar rebuild. In a meeting with Joel Palmer, capital management branch, local reps were told that there is no money for capital projects aside from their seismic mitigation program.
“They were very clear,” said board chair Rebecca Huscroft after that meeting. “Don’t get your hopes up, there’s no new money in the province and this current government is all about balancing its budget so basically, keep wishing.”
Huscroft said Palmer is familiar with the state of the aging school and understands the need, however.
Trafalgar was built in 1920 with several additions since then.