Although it is only the second week back to school, the big changes happening at schools in the Williams Lake area this fall seem to be going fairly smoothly so far.
“I have heard very positive reports coming from Lake City Secondary and all of the elementary schools that have seen major changes,” Superintendent of Schools Mark Thiessen said Tuesday.
“I have been very impressed with the efforts of staff and students in making the transitions as smooth as possible.
“Big changes like this are never simple, and I’m sure there will be some hiccups going forward, but at this point, things have gone very well.”
Starting this fall Glendale and Kwaleen elementary schools were closed.
Glendale French Immersion students have been moved to Nesika elementary. The Glendale year round program has moved to Cataline elementary.
All students at Kwaleen were given the option of moving to Chilcotin Road elementary.
School of choice regulations continue to apply for those students wishing to attend alternate schools.
The former grades 8 to 12 Williams Lake and Columneetza secondary schools have been consolidated into one secondary school on two campuses called Lake City Secondary School.
Grade 7 students in the Williams Lake area have moved from the elementary schools to the new Lake City Secondary Western Campus (formerly Columneetza).
The Western Campus is primarily a grades 7 to 9 school.
The Carson Campus (formerly WLSS) is now primarily a grades 10 to 12 school.
The district board made the decision to close and consolidate schools in efforts to deal with ongoing financial problems related to the way Victoria funds school districts.
Some extra funds are provided by Victoria for rural and remote school status, First Nation needs and other special considerations, but public school funding is primarily based on student enrolment.
While final figures won’t be available until later this month, Thiessen said student enrolment in School District 27 this year may be higher than originally projected.
“At this point, we are cautiously optimistic that enrolment may be higher than expected,” Thiessen said.
“Our student enrolment numbers are never firm until Sept. 30, but we feel that we may not have lost as many students as we have in previous years.”
While students are back in class teachers and school support staff continue to negotiate new contracts under a cloud of potential strike or lockout.