Tentative date set to deal with fate of Westwold elementary

The building 40 minutes east of Kamloops has been locked up since no students enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year

The tentative date of Nov. 22 has been set to discuss the fate of the currently locked-up Westwold elementary.

At its Oct. 29 meeting, the outgoing board of education voted unanimously to set the date for a public consultation, at which the board will hear comments and petitions regarding the district’s intent to close the school.

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Earlier this year, SD73 shuttered Westwold elementary when no students enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year.

Westwold is about 40 minutes east of Kamloops along Highway 97. The school is right on the highway, with a large painting of a tiger on its wall.

However, the two-week timeline isn’t set in stone as the incoming board, which consists of three new members and six returning trustees, will have the final say on when the meeting is held.

“We don’t like to commit the new board,” Kamloops-Thompson school district secretary treasurer Kelvin Stretch told KTW, adding that once the new board chair and vice chair is in place the date will be finalized.

Stretch said the public meeting will be an opportunity for members of the community to share their thoughts and staff to present a report on enrolment trends ahead of the new board determining what course of action to take.

School district superintendent Alison Sidow said the majority of last year’s eight students at Westwold transferred to R.L. Clemitson elementary in Barnhartvale.

The public-consultation process will give the district a better understanding of whether there is any value in keeping Westwold elementary open in the future, she said.

School staff have transferred to other jobs in the district.

Over the past three decades Westwold elementary’s enrolment has shrunk, moving from 64 students in 1998 to 34 in 2008 and now zero in 2018, according to assistant superintendent Rob Schoen.

Interested parties are invited to submit their comments and petitions regarding the possible closure of the school.

The Kamloops-Thompson school district website is at sd73.bc.ca.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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