The bylaw to close the Tomslake area school was given first two readings at the school board’s November 12 meeting, with a third reading set for after public consultation.
The school itself is 49 years old, and is in need of a scheduled roof replacement and updates to the building envelope. SD59 estimates that if it was closed, it would save the school district nearly $158,000 a year in maintenance, utilities, administration, and custodial costs.
Only 19 students are currently enrolled at the elementary school, 28 kilometres south of Dawson Creek. They come from Tomslake, Tupper, Gundy and One Island Lake by school bus each day. Enrolment is expected to increase to 20 in 2014/2015, but then decline to nine by 2017/2018.
If the school were to close, the students would be sent to Pouce Coupe Elementary, which would mean an additional classroom for that school. Among the parent concerns brought up at the last meeting were worries about whether Pouce Coupe Elementary would have the room to absorb the extra students and whether the tight knit group would be accepted by their peers.
If the closure is approved, it’s expected the board would ask the Ministry of Education to close it by July 1, 2014. Community organizations would then be contacted to see if they would have a use for the facility.
Monday night’s meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Anyone interested in commenting on the closure can also hand in a written submission by January 15, 2014 to Tate Creek Elementary, the SD59 Board Office, or by email to the Board of Education Chairperson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions and answers from the December 2 meeting are available for download below.