Teachers walked off the job at C.E. Barry last week

Students shuffled around Hope for fall

School board votes to close C.E. Barry intermediate school

C.E. Barry intermediate school will close, and its 150 students will be accommodated at other schools within the district in the fall, including Hope secondary.

The closure is the combined result of costly seismic upgrade work that needs to be completed, and falling enrolment numbers. The school district has engaged with the public through a number of community forums over the last week, and heard overwhelmingly that the the K-7 model is preferred.

Superintendent Karen Nelson said they needed to make a decision quickly on the future of C.E. Barry so that families could know where their children would be attending school next year.

“We need to get this done as soon as possible,” she told the board Tuesday evening. “People want answers.”

The Board voted (unanimously) in favour of closing C.E. Barry School; but voted 5-2 in favour of moving the Grade 5 and Grade 6 students to Coquihalla Elementary, and giving the Grade 7 students the option of attending either Silver Creek Elementary or Hope Secondary. Trustees Pat Furness and Tom Hendrickson voted against the grade 7 students going to the high school.

It is being called an interim decision, with the long term plan being the K-7 model at the elementary level, and a return to a Grades 8-12 model at Hope secondary.

Still, the school board’s decision hit a nerve with teachers who attended the meeting at Kent elementary Tuesday night, with some leaving the room in tears. Others used the question period to express their anger.

“As a parent I said I was going to hold you accountable,” said teacher Lenora Poulin. “The decision you made tonight was wrong.”

Other teachers, many of them parents themselves, said the board was not putting students first. That prompted a few trustees to snap back at C.E. Barry teachers who refused to work last Tuesday, citing concerns that the building wasn’t safe.

“It’s been a really stressful week,” said trustee Rose Tustian. “It started with the staff walking off the job (at C.E. Barry). I saw first hand students not being put first… You closed that school the day you walked out.”

The district had been mulling over the choice between closing the school and retrofitting it.

On May 12, 2012, the government announced $122 million of new capital funding to carry out structural upgrades for 14 school with high seismic risk. C.E. Barry was identified as a vulnerable structure at high risk of widespread damage or structural collapse, likely not reparable after a major seismic event. As the process progressed, the ministry of education directed the school board to focus on seismic upgrades to ensure safety, not school renewal, and pursue the lowest cost option.

Engineering consultants were hired to produce a a seismic project identification report for C.E Barry, with solutions for structural upgrades to address life safety. The detailed cost estimate for the work came in at $4 million.

Karen Virteau, a teacher at Silver Creek, said she was hoping the majority of C.E. Barry Grade 7s will choose to come to her school, where a Grade 7 program is already in place.

Portables will be used at Coquihalla to handle the new influx of students there. Two new portables will be bought at a cost of $120,000 each, and a third portable will be moved from C.E. Barry.

Trustee Marv Cope said the most important thing is making sure there is space available for teaching, no matter where it is.

“Teachers teach,” he said. “That’s what they do and it doesn’t matter where they go for a period of time. If you give them the space to do it, they teach.”

The district will immediately start planning a long term solution for the 2015-2016 school year.

– with files from the Hope Standard

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited since its initial publication.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Comedy, chicken poop and dancing at Lytton Festival

This year’s festival will honour longtime supporter Shirley James

LETTER: Recreational angling has low-impact on Fraser salmon

Jason Tonelli writes about his displeasure at the call to close recreational fishing on the Fraser

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Young balance-bikers race in B.C.’s inaugural Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Most Read