At the November 8 meeting the Prince Rupert School District Board of Education voted to close Port Edward school effective August 31, 2012, but the students could still be attending that building for a few months after the closure.
“At this point the earliest Port Edward council would have their new building is January, 2013, which is some months after the school closes,” said secretary-treasurer Cam McIntyre, alluding to a new community school being built as an addition to the current municipal office.
“We have discussed means of transferring control of the old school to the District of Port Edward, whether via sale or a long or short term lease…At that point if we close the school we can house the students in that building until the new one opens.”
While other school closures have been tough decisions for the board, board chair Tina Last says this is one she’s happy to do.
“This is one of those cases where we’re closing a school but opening an exciting new door, and the addition to the municipal building looks great…It will be the right size and not a huge building with a significant upkeep cost,” she said, noting that now is the right time to make the decision to close the school.
“We’re not doing this to rush anything through. We made a commitment as a board to see this trough before the conclusion of this term and not pass it on to the next school board…This way the school district knows what is going on and the District of Port Edward knows what is happening.”
Port Edward mayor Dave MacDonald and councillors Dan Franzen and Knut Bjorndal were in attendance at the meeting, and the board had nothing but praise for their efforts.
“You as a council really stuck your neck out there to do what is right for the community,” said board vice-chair Bart Kuntz, who traveled with council to the UBCM meeting in September to seek out more funds for the school.
“This has been a good partnership so far, and I look forward to continue moving forward.”