School district in financial jam

Selling those buildings may be the only option but it would be an unpalatable one at best

IT WOULD take quite a bit of searching to find a more complicated set of circumstances facing an organization than those facing the Coast Mountains school district concerning its growing number of empty schools.

In Terrace alone the school district has once-open Copper Mountain, Kiti K’Shan, the ET Kenney building of the Suwilaawks school and as of this summer, Thornhill Junior Secondary School to worry about.

School board chair Art Erasmus is absolutely correct when he says it makes no sense to have students in half-empty schools because it takes as much money to take care of a half-empty school as it does one that is full. That’s why students are being consolidated in the area’s remaining schools. And he’s also correct when he says there is still a cost to maintaining an empty school even though, over time, empty buildings deteriorate regardless. So, to borrow a phrase, the school district is stuck between a rock and a natural gas heating bill.

Even the most optimistic among us isn’t forecasting an immediate enough influx of newcomers to re-open closed schools in the next year or two. And, if by some magical feat, the area is hit by a rash of pregnancies right about now, it will take five-plus years for those babies to start school.

Selling those buildings may be the only option but it would be an unpalatable one at best.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

City hall, RCMP getting complaints about lack of physical distancing

So far, there’s no public health order to enforce the safety measure

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Uplands Elementary students get chance to wave at teachers

Students haven’t seen teachers in nearly 3 weeks

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read