Westwold community to meet to discuss fate of school

The future of studentless Westwold elementary school will be discussed with the public on Thursday in the community 40 minutes east of Kamloops along Highway 97.

The meeting will take place in the school at 7 p.m. as no date changes were made following the instalment of a new Kamloops-Thompson school board.

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The school board will hear public feedback and information from staff on the proposed closure of the fully functioning school with no students to fill it.

School district assistant superintendent Rob Schoen said the meeting will involve reviewing district policy with community members, sharing of enrolment trends, financial information and the birthrate in the school’s catchment area.

“More importantly, we’ll be posing questions to the community around, should we choose to keep the school open, what are the consequences of that decision? Should we choose to close the school, what are the consequences of that decision?” Schoen asked trustees at the Monday’s board meeting.

At Thursday’s meeting, the district will also seek feedback on the possibility of converting the school into a different facility entirely, Schoen told KTW.

Online feedback will be collected until Jan. 19, at which time staff will compile that information and make a final recommendation to the board at its Jan. 28 meeting.

Westwold elementary didn’t open for the 2018-2019 school year as no students were enrolled. The majority of last year’s eight students at Westwold transferred to R.L. Clemitson elementary in Barnhartvale.

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.

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