Parents ask school district to take Parkway off school closure list

Angela Browett most worried about the major adjustment her six-year-old daughter with autism will have to make.

The possible closure of Parkway Elementary has Angela Browett most worried about the major adjustment her six-year-old daughter with autism will have to make.

“What happens to these students who are reluctant to change; are they going to get left behind? Because bigger schools just brush them off in my experience,” she told the board of School District 67 during a public consultation at the school on Dec. 7. “I don’t see them benefiting from moving to another school.”

Browett said when her daughter first began kindergarten at the school, it was a difficult transition that caused her to lose her speech for a short time. Her daughter eventually became comfortable at Parkway after building relationships with staff and becoming familiar with the environment.

“And then now we’re going to have to change again, and I don’t know what that’s going to bring for our family let alone the number of other families with autistic children.”

Superintendent Wendy Hyer said that in the event of a closure, all staff members will transfer to the same school as the students.

“We have very professional educators and (Educational Assistant’s) who would be aware of which students are (special needs) and efforts would be made to make that transition as smooth as possible,” Hyer said. “When you combine the schools you combine all their resources and you create a bit more flexibility to better meet the needs of vulnerable kids.”

Despite the likelihood of familiar faces being a part of her daughter’s new school, Browett doesn’t want to send her daughter into an unfamiliar environment.

“We would still be that same comfortable environment even if there wasn’t the same EA,” said Hyer.

Hyer also said that fewer schools, through economy of scale, would allow for better distribution of staff resources. However, the board can never ensure the retention of individual staff members.

“Every year, regardless of whether we close a school or not an EA could choose to move to another school,” Hyer said. “There’s no guarantee either way.”

Afterwards, Browett said she found Hyer’s response to be too technical.

“It didn’t speak to families directly, it almost felt like a sluff off rather than an answer,” she said.

It was also brought up at the meeting that the school’s expected enrolment over the next 10 years averages out to slightly exceeded capacity. Since Parkway won’t have room for new students in the event that other schools are closed, there will be challenges with re-configuration.

“As far as the school being at capacity, it works for the families here,” Browett said. “I don’t know many that have issues with the class sizes.”

“There’s an option in the package that says status quo,” Hyer said. “But status quo doesn’t really mean status quo, because at the end of the day, it’s a choice about how we spend our dollars.”

SD67 is considering closures because trustees have to cut their budget by approximately $1.1 million by the end of this school year, and then $750,000 next year and another $750,000 again the year following.

“So it’s really a choice of where we make those savings – closing empty classrooms or reducing services and support.”

The final feedback presentation in the process takes place at Queen’s Park on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. The school district will make its decision on Jan. 20.

 

Just Posted

Man dies in Penticton RCMP custody

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

Plethora of bike parts found at problem property

Penticton bylaw said parts for upwards of 80 bicycles uncovered at 377 Winnipeg Street

Flasher exposes himself to woman on Oliver trail

RCMP in Oliver are dealing with they believe is a serial flasher

Olalla fire grows to 50 hectares

A wildfire near Olalla is currently not threatening and structures

Accident closes section of Channel Parkway

A two-vehicle accident happened just after noon on the Channel Parkway near Green Avenue.

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former Shuswap optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Kelowna developer warns home buyers to look at more than the price tag

Kelowna developer Jeffrey Anderson wants first-time homeowners to look at more than the price tag.

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Most Read