Katie Dyck

Katie Dyck

Kwaleen parent asks board to consider the big picture

A parent has written to the school board, asking it to further consider which schools should be on the chopping block.

The School District 27 board needs to pay closer attention to where parents are actually sending their children to school before they enact their Initial Options Report, says Katie Dyck, a parent of three children attending Kwaleen Elementary School.

Dyck, the newly elected parent advisory council president, has written a letter to the board outlining her concerns with the Initial Options Report that proposes closing Glendale, Wildwood and Kwaleen elementary schools.

By the enrollment numbers, Dyck says Marie Sharpe and Wildwood elementary schools are struggling to keep students, while Kwaleen and Glendale are operating at or near capacity.

“I don’t think the big picture has been looked at,” Dyck says.

In her letter to the board she states: “I feel that the board has consistently and unreasonably ignored the option of closing Marie Sharpe, and I am unsure as to why.

“Marie Sharpe is the oldest school in Williams Lake and it is therefore reasonable to believe that it will require more money to rehabilitate and bring up to code than any other school. I do not wish to slander the educational aspect of this school, because as far as administration and teaching goes I am sure it is equal to any other school in the city.”

She says she is concerned with safety issues surrounding Marie Sharpe, which require the school to be locked up during the day to prevent access by a certain criminal element.

“This does not seem like the ideal environment for kids to learn and develop,” Dyck says. “I consider a site like Kwaleen’s, with plenty of fresh air and space, and little to no drive-by or walk-through traffic, in comparison, a far more appealing site for an elementary school.”

But perhaps a more telling judgement lies with the families of Williams Lake themselves who are choosing not to send their children to Marie Sharpe, Dyck says.

According to the 2006 Trillium Report commissioned by the board of the day to review efficiencies in the district, she says Marie Sharpe was operating at 59 per cent capacity.

This year she says Marie Sharpe is operating at 42 per cent capacity while Kwaleen is currently operating at 91 per cent capacity and Glendale is operating at 100 per cent capacity.

“The numbers don’t lie, and with the school of choice option available to us all, why isn’t Marie Sharpe full?” Dyck asks.

She goes on to question the board’s reasons for keeping Marie Sharpe open while reducing options for parents by closing Glendale with its year-round program and Kwaleen with its traditional school model.

She asks why the board would want to remove choice for parents when the Initial Options Report says the board’s number 1 guiding principle is “excellence in education, choice and opportunity.”

She adds that Kwaleen’s FSA scores are high and rising and Glendale’s FSA scores are also good.

Further she notes that 60 per cent of students attending Kwaleen live within the Kwaleen catchment area, and the other 40 per cent of students are there by choice.

“While we all understand the concept of tightening the belt, I would like to ask that the school board look at the numbers as a whole for all schools as well as community response to the schools before making your decisions about which to close,” Dyck says.

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

Just Posted

The city of Williams Lake has received provincial funding for a proposed boardwalk connecting the RC Cotton Trail to the River Valley Recreational Trail. (City of Williams Lake rough visualization of the proposal)
$550,000 provincial funding announced for Williams Lake boardwalk trail

The boardwalk will connect the new RC Cotton Trail to the river valley

100 Mile RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen. (Patrick Davies photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile RCMP investigate theft at airport hangar

Incident is one of 89 calls attended by police from Feb. 17 to 23.

Williams Lake city council is interested in acquiring the former Poplar Glade School property on Eleventh Avenue. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake city council sets sights on two former school properties

School District said there is a five-step process for property disposal

School District 27 (SD27) issued notice Thursday, Feb. 25 of a COVID-19 exposure at Mountview Elementary School. (Angie Mindus photo)
School district reports positive COVID-19 case in Williams Lake elementary school

A letter went home to families of Mountview Elementary School

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: B.C. teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Most Read