Westwold Elementary School requires six students to remain open

Posted On Tuesday January 29, 2019

School District No. 73 Board of Education voted unanimously to keep Westwold Elementary School open during its regular meeting on Jan. 28, 2019.

 Superintendent Alison Sidow made the recommendation to the Board to maintain a K-7 (with reduced services) pending the enrollment of six full-time students by Sept. 30, 2019. 

The decision was the result of a community consultation process that began with a town hall meeting in Westwold on Nov. 22, 2018.

“Having heard from the community, we’ve kept the school open, now it’s up to Westwold to support their school by enrolling their children,” said Kathleen Karpuk, Board Chair. “There is no financial pressure to close the school, all we need is to have six students attend.”

“Residents told us they were concerned that closure of the school would deter young families from relocating to Westwold,” said Sidow. “We know from our rural schools in the North Thompson and Savona that if a community gets behind the school, they can become a real draw for families looking for a rural lifestyle.”

Parents wanting to enroll kindergarten students for Westwold can do so at Robert L .Clemitson Elementary from Feb. 11 to Feb. 15.

Schoen noted that while a full-service school is a better educational model for students, the recommendation to keep the school open addresses the community’s interests and serves the families of the six children who indicated through the consultation process their commitment to attending the local school.

“Rural schools reduce long-distance bus rides for children and provide a viable alternative to homeschooling or distance education,” Schoen said. “The school also provides the community of Westwold a place to gather and celebrate important events.”

When the school year started in September, the classrooms at Westwold Elementary were empty. The Board initiated a consultation process as per its policy on School Planning and Organization.

In addition to comments from the town hall meeting on Nov. 22, 2018, families in the Westwold catchment area were contacted directly by phone regarding their schooling preferences. There was also an opportunity to submit comments online about the future of the school.  All comments and recommendations are here.




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