School District 10 Board members Judy Struck

SD 10 stays course through changes

Next year will see few changes in the budget, but the closure of the Burton school, says Pattie Adam.

The 2012/2013 School District 10 budget won’t see radical departures from this year’s budget, said SD 10 Board Chair Pattie Adam.

“It’s status quo, or as close as possible,” said Adam.

One element to the upcoming budget will be using Learning Initiative funds and money collected from the three-day teachers’ strike to support “kids needing a little more help,” Adam said.

According to a memorandum from outgoing Superintendent/Secretary-Treasurer, 23 per cent of SD 10 Kindergartens students enter school with “vulnerability.”

This means that kids are coming to school facing language, health or social challenges, Adam told the Arrow Lakes News. By the time they leave Grade 3, kids are reading and writing at or above their grade level, thanks to community literacy cultivated through SD 10 programs and relationships, said Adam.

Strong Start, a literacy program for families that helps parents and children get ready for school by providing a social learning environment for kids and families, is one opportunity among many in Nakusp, the school board director said. SD 10 works closely with all early childhood educators in the community, the library, CBAL, public health and Stepping Stones to make sure kids entering the school system can make the most of their time there, said Adam.

“The past year has been challenging for the District due to teachers’ job action,” Adam said, “because the lines of communication have been down.”

Adam is looking forward to the dispute getting resolved and reopening those lines, but also wants to make sure that the achievements that the teachers and students have had during the past year, challenges and all, are celebrated.

“B.C.’s education system really still does a great job,” said Adam, who encourages anyone in the community to get involved in shaping the future by getting involved in education.

In other news, the School Board is officially closing the Burton School on June 30 but is hoping the community will take it over, said Adam. The School District is happy to help, she said, as long as it doesn’t cost more money than closing the building permanently. Utilities for the building cost around $6,000 a year, which is the magic number to keep the building going for community use.

“It’s very sad,” said Adam. She still holds hope that the Burton community will rally like Fauquier did and take over the school.

Teacher and Burton resident Sally McLean is part of a team looking into converting the building into a community learning centre. After an inspiring visit to a Blueberry community school, she said the Burton group is now keen to find a coordinator for the space (and funding for the coordinator) and to get things going.

Adam herself knows the Burton school already gets a lot of use by the community, particularly the gym, and would love to see that continue, for now and for the future.

“It’s a lot easier to open a building that is being used rather than one that’s been boarded up,” she commented, citing the rapid decline of the Glenbank school once it was closed up as an example.