School Board Shelves Plans to Close McBride Centennial Elementary
Prince George, B.C. – A big change of course for the Prince George School District.
At tonight’s monthly board meeting, superintendent Marilyn Marquis-Forster and secretary-treasurer Allan Reed recommended the board of education keep McBride Centennial Elementary open and not close it as recommended in last year’s Cascades facility report.
The controversial report had recommended closing the school and sending those students to McBride Secondary due to low enrolment. (In June, the district expected 72 students at McBride Secondary this school year and 94 at McBride Centennial Elementary).
But following a review by the district’s facilities staff, it was determined a retrofit of McBride Secondary to accommodate the elementary students would cost up to $2,000,000 – money staff felt the Ministry of Education would not have provided because the Facility Index Scores of both schools are considered acceptable.
Co-location won’t be considered again until total K-12 enrolment at both schools dips below 150 students and Reed said that’s not expected to happen for another four or five years.The recommendation received unanimous support.
Marquis-Forster and Reed also recommended against changing the catchment area for Edgewood Elementary. The change would have meant reassigning Edgewood graduates to Kelly Road Secondary rather than where they traditionally go – Duchess Park Secondary School.
The change was prompted by consultations, including input from Edgewood Elementary, Duchess Park Secondary and Kelly Road Secondary parent advisory councils and senior administration from the district.
Senior administration’s review of the existing catchment boundaries for Duchess Park indicated that strict enforcement of those boundaries will ensure that the school has sufficient operating capacity to accommodate the grade 8-12 Regular Program, grade 8-12 French Immersion program, and the grade 8-12 services provided to students of School District No. 93 (Francophone Education Authority) for the forseeable future.
The motion passed in a 5-1 vote with only trustee Sharel Warrington opposed. Warrington said she “understood the resolution” but added “I don’t believe the board has enough information at this time to enforce the resolution.”
Finally, the board changed course on a Cascades facilities report’s recommendation to reconfigure Morfee Elementary and Mackenzie Secondary schools and send grade seven students to the high school.
It did so by voting in favour of a recommendation that principals of Morfee Elementary and Mackenzie Secondary schools work with their students, staff, and parents to consider a middle years education program at Mackenzie Secondary School to include the community’s grade 7 students beginning no earlier than the 2017-2018 school year.
A board report says the Education Programs and Planning Committee discussed this matter during a meeting on Oct. 18, 2016. At that meeting Marquis-Forster recommended that as a first step the principals of the Mackenzie schools engage in this discussion with their community.