Twin Rivers school is full to capacity, but Grade 7 students will be able to continue to attend with the addition of some portables. Photo: John Boivin

Twin Rivers school is full to capacity, but Grade 7 students will be able to continue to attend with the addition of some portables. Photo: John Boivin

SD 20 trustees won’t send Castlegar Grade 7s to high school

Board decides to install portables at two schools instead

Grade 7 students at two Castlegar elementary schools won’t be going to high school next year after all.

Trustees of School District 20 voted unanimously Monday night against the controversial scheme that upset many parents in the community.

Instead, the district will buy two portables to house students at their current elementary schools.

“I’ve changed my mind on that,” said Darrel Ganzert, the board’s vice-chair. “It became very clear recently that that is a very short-term solution to the problem …

“Besides the public, who convinced me it was not a good idea, the educational leaders in our district did not think it would be a good idea to move Grade 7 students into the high school either,” he added.

The board raised the possibility of moving students next year from Twin Rivers and Kinnaird elementary to Stanley Humphries Secondary School. Both elementary schools are over-capacity, while SHSS has some room to spare.

But parents bristled at the thought of their children attending the high school a year early.

SEE: Castlegar Parents ask school board to keep Grade 7 in elementary schools

About two dozen parents showed up for the board meeting, held at Kinnaird Elementary in Castlegar. Most listened patiently while trustees explained why they decided not to move the children, and buy portables instead.

“The demographics have shown Castlegar is becoming the centre of the West Kootenay, economically,” said trustee Gord Smith. “It’s bringing people from all over B.C. and Canada, so it’s reasonable to expect there’s going to be growth in this community.”

“I’m quite comfortable leaving Stanley Humphries with that below-capacity level because I think we will see that population grow into that school.”

The portables will be installed at Kinnaird and Twin Rivers Elementary. Board superintendent Bill Ford estimated the portables would cost about $135,000 each — but that’s before shipping, taxes, site preparation, and installation costs.

After the meeting, parent Robyn Varga said she was happy to hear her son wouldn’t have to go to Stanley Humphries for Grade 7 next year.

“I don’t think they should be mixed with high school kids. It would change him,” she said. “They do stuff as elementary kids that they wouldn’t do in high school.”

Newly-elected board chair Catherine Zaitsoff said input from parents made a difficult decision easier.

“When we got the survey results, and saw it was 75 per cent, we knew right away,” she said. “It’s really an important point for me, that there be community involvement and collaboration, and I think this went really well.

“It was a really hard decision to make, to find our way, but with the help of the community I’m excited for the future.”

However, trustees also said they realized the portables were only a temporary solution.

The district is going to launch a study to plan the district’s facility needs.

With Castlegar projected to grow, that will most likely mean a new school in the south end of the city, they said — but that is a discussion for a future date.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

SD 20 trustees won’t send Castlegar Grade 7s to high school

Just Posted

Crews retrieved the overturned commercial truck from the crash scene on Friday, Nov. 20. Photo: Betsy Kline
UPDATE: Kootenay woman dies in Genelle collision

The incident occurred Thursday, Nov. 19.

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
104 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

IH is reporting the new numbers since Friday, Nov. 20

Marty Horswill, March 14, 1944 – November 9, 2020. File photo
Seventy years of song: Marty Horswill’s legacy remembered

The third-generation Nelson resident and vocalist died on Nov. 9

Interior Health says there have been 24 cases of COVID-19 in Salmo in November. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
UPDATED: COVID-19 cases rise to 24 in Salmo

The cases are connected to social events in the village

Trail RCMP seized illicit drugs, cash and a weapon following a traffic stop in West Trail on Nov. 18. Photo: Trail RCMP
West Kootenay man, woman face drug charges after traffic stop

Police report that three types of illicit drugs were seized as well as cash and a Taser

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Most Read