An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES for School District 73 will make a million-dollar decision tonight — whether or not to re-open Westsyde elementary school.
There’s nothing sadder than a boarded-up school, and Westsyde elementary has presented that vision for years.
It was shut down in 2006, and parts of it have been used for community needs during the years since the shouts of school kids rang through the halls and on the playing field but a school should be a school.
Now, as enrollment once again is rising in the Westsyde area, the Kamloops school board is looking at upgrading it and putting it back in service in September.
So, the board asked residents what they think. Not surprisingly, those who don’t think it’s anything but an exciting idea are few and far between.
Some are worried about traffic safety, bus schedules, student transition and so on but by far most parents are, in a word, grateful.
The board will hear from staff tonight that David Thompson elementary is at 125 per cent of capacity and enrollment could reach 500 by 2023. As over-crowding of a school sets in, quality of education goes down.
And the importance of schools to neighbourhoods and communities can’t be overstated.
Not that it will be cheap — just over a million bucks will be needed for renos, supplies, resource support and so on.
It must be nice for this new school board to receive praise from parents; the past couple of boards mainly got raked over the coals for school closures.
So, at tonight’s meeting, trustees will be asked to approve reorganizing the catchment area for David Thompson elementary and the capital money needed to reopen Westsyde elementary.
That decision, surely, is a no-brainer.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.