Closure of Woodlands, Rutherford recommended

Rutherford Elementary School is still on the chopping block, pending sufficient funding from the province and a final vote from trustees.

Rutherford Elementary School is still on the chopping block, pending sufficient funding from the province and a final vote from Nanaimo school trustees.

The school district recently concluded consultation with stakeholders regarding an updated facilities plan and a Rutherford recommendation remains similar to one suggested by staff in September.

Staff suggest shuttering the north-end school by June 2017, with nearby Frank J. Ney Elementary school expanded to accommodate some displaced students; however, the B.C. Ministry of Education has not committed funding.

The two parties have met, according to John Blain, school district superintendent.

“The conversations were about what are the things we need to do to get ourselves into the queue … and one of the pieces is that we need to be in a position of readiness if there are flexible monies to come out of the ministry, not in the normal capital expenses.

“What that means is if a project falls through, something like that, and they have some extra capital, we may be able to fall into that or they may have the ability to look at smaller type projects,” said Blain.

It had been suggested during consultation that French immersion be moved from Nanaimo District Secondary School to John Barsby Secondary, but the recommendation is for no move.

Blain said information gathered during consultation could be forwarded to an NDSS site and vision advisory committee.

“French immersion and district programs, that committee will need time to develop,” said Blain. “It’s a long-term discussion.”

According to the latest recommendations, Woodlands Secondary would still shutter at the end of the year, with sports acadamies relocated to NDSS.

Learn at Home programs from kindergarten to Grade 12 would be amalgamated to the Mount Benson school site and Skills for Life would relocate to Georgia Avenue School for September 2016.

North Cedar Intermediate and Woodbank Primary students would both be housed at the Woodbank site in September 2016.

The district will hold meetings at Vancouver Island Conference Centre next week, when Blain said trustees are expected to debate and hopefully vote on the recommendations.

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