Students in Prince Rupert returned to a school system that is much different than it was back in June, with the introduction of the middle school and senior secondary system and the movement of the French Immersion program from the now closed Westview Elementary School to Roosevelt Park Elementary School.
And with three schools now recently closed in the community, the obvious question becomes what to do with them? One of the last stories Monica Lamb-Yorski wrote before heading down to Williams Lake was about a request from the school board to the City of Prince Rupert to waive the tipping fees that would be associated with demolishing both Seal Cove and Kanata schools. And while I certainly see the reasoning for wanting to demolish the two schools, it doesn’t really make sense. Essentially the school board would be paying about $400,000 to take down both buildings, plus the cost of tipping plus anything that comes up related to handling hazardous materials. That’s a lot of money that isn’t benefitting the students and, realistically, won’t be generating any revenue. Unfortunately, with the current policies of the Ministry of Education that is about all the board can look at.
There is no reason a school board shouldn’t be allowed to sell or lease the buildings or why the Minister should deny a request. Even selling one or two buildings would leave available capacity should Prince Rupert boom, and the money from the sale or lease could directly benefit the education of students in the district.
Really, it just makes sense. Students benefit, school districts benefit and neighbourhoods don’t face boarded up buildings. Seems like a win-win-win.