THORNHILL Junior secondary school will close this summer as planned, after a motion to revisit the school’s closure was defeated 5 – 3 at last night’s monthly school board meeting.
The Coast Mountains school board voted to close the school last December, citing declining enrolment as the main cause. The decision was also part of a massive plan to shift grades around.
Thornhill trustee Gary Turner had put forward a motion at last month’s school board meeting asking the board to consider rescinding the decision, saying “I don’t think we looked at everything.”
Last night, Turner was supported in his motion to review the closure by Terrace trustees Tanis Kilpatrick and Diana Penner.
Turner expressed concern over how much money the closure of Thornhill Junior would actualy save the school district, as well as concerns for First Nations students who want to stay in Thornhill and special needs students who may get “lost in the shuffle.”
Kilpatrick said she is worried the closure will cause overcrowding at Skeena Junior Secondary and Caledonia Senior Secondary schools.
“I think we need to take a good second look at whether closing Thornhill Junior and moving to a middle school model makes good educational sense,” she said adding the board should delay the closure for at least another year.
Tuner agreed with Kilpatrick’s concerns of over crowding.
“What we’re basically doing is we’re cramming as many people we can in a space, and that is not good for the education of kids,” he said.
The closure of Thornhill Junior is one change of many slated for schools in Terrace and Thornhill next school year, as all elementary schools will loose their Grade 7 students to Skeena Junior Secondary in its new role as a middle school. In turn, Grade 10 will be shifted from Skeena and from Thornhill to Caledonia, making it a Grade 10-12 school.
Penner did not speak on the motion before voting in agreement with Kilpatrick and Turner. Opposed was Terrace trustee Art Erasmus, Hazelton trustee Lynn Newbury, Stewart trustee Leigh Kasum and Kitimat trustees Ray Raj and Huey-lin Wu.
Turner was re-elected in the Nov. 19 school board elections as was Art Erasmus. Kilpatrick and Penner did not run again.