McBride Parents to Discuss Co-Location, Rural Education at Community Meeting
McBride, B.C. – Parents in McBride, along with school trustees, senior administration, and community members will gather in McBride tomorrow night to discuss the future of public education in that community.
Karen Dube, Parent Advisory Council (PAC) chair at McBride Secondary School, says two major issues will be up for discussion.
“One is co-location, which while off the table for the next school year may very well be back on the table for the following school year,” she says, noting parents in the area believe the student population is dropping much faster than the Prince George School District believes.
“So we want to be proactive and collaborate with our trustees and senior administration on a process – on establishing timelines and how a process would actually work if co-location was something that was deemed necessary in our community.”
This despite the fact the Prince George School Board put off plans to co-locate the town’s elementary school and high school at a public board meeting last month.
The board decided co-location wouldn’t be necessary until the entire K-12 public school population dropped to below 150 students (in June, the district estimated the population of McBride Secondary School to be 72 students while the school population at McBride Centennial Elementary school was estimated at 94 students).
The board was told that wouldn’t happen for at least another four or five years though Dube isn’t buying it.
“I’m not. Our town is very small, so you know when people are coming and going right? We know there are quite a number of students who are leaving for lots of reasons – work, their parents work, that kind of stuff,” she says.
“So we believe that we will be below or at 150 students come February and certainly it’s very possible that we’ll be at that number for next September.”
Dube says another issue up for discussion is learning opportunities for McBride students.
“While other schools in the district and across BC struggle with issues of overcrowding and large class sizes, we have the opposite problem at our schools,” she says.
“Teachers are required to prep for two or three grades in each class in some cases which is unsustainable. We understand that the current funding model means that the high school cannot sustain its current course offerings into next year.
“This may mean that students will soon not be able to take courses they need to enter post secondary institutions or, down the road, to even graduate from their own school.”
Tomorrow’s meeting will take place in the Round House at McBride Secondary School and starts at 6 p.m.