Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School in Oliver will remain open next year after trustees unanimously voted on Wednesday to withdraw from the consultation process for the possible closure of the school.
“The board has been looking long-term at sustainability in light of enrolment and financial challenges. We are pleased that the pressure is off for the upcoming school year due to the factors mentioned. However, we will be closely monitoring school enrolment across the district on a regular basis and updating the capital plan for future discussions and consideration should our situation change,” said June Harrington, chairperson of the board. “Meanwhile, we look forward to hopeful economic growth in our community to assist with enrolment challenges. The board would like to thank the parents and staff of Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School for the support they have given for Tuc-el-Nuit school and for their patience as we analyzed preliminary budget, staffing and enrolment information.”
School District 53 released their capital plan in November stating financial pressures due to the Ministry of Education cutbacks in funding protection meant the district could face a potential deficit of $875,000. This put trustees in the position of having to find ways to cutback and they decided closing Tuc-el-Nuit was the best option out of those given to them. In March the province announced the funding protection had been granted.
The school district said the vote was passed based on the following factors: the funding is stable due to the funding protection; the preliminary budget and staffing processes confirm the district’s ability to maintain similar levels; and updated enrolment projections that include kindergarten registrations show a more favourable forecast for most schools.
“We have won the battle but the fight is not over,” said Save Oliver Schools spokesperson Rachel Allenbrand, who is also a parent of a child attending TEN. “We need to stay vigilant. We cannot be accused of not paying attention again. If our school means this much then we as parents need to stay on the up and up with the board. I am so happy that this battle is won, but I will still be keeping an eye on things and I hope you all do this as well.”
Public consultation meetings scheduled for April 27 and May 4 regarding TEN elementary school have been cancelled.