Burton students have been bussed to Nakusp for classes since 2012. (SD10 file)

Baby boom boosts Burton school talk

District would consider reopening if funding available, parents commit

A baby boom in Burton has local parents hoping the elementary school there could be reopened.

Parents in the community south of Nakusp met with the Superintendent of School District No. 10 and its Director of Learning last week to talk about the idea.

“We’re at the information-gathering stage,” cautions SD10 Superintendent Terry Taylor. “It’s a complicated piece of planning.”

The school in Burton closed in 2012 after its enrollment dropped to four students. Children have been bussed to Nakusp since.

But it seems that young families, fleeing the high cost of housing elsewhere, have begun to repopulate the town.

“Talking with parents, it seems the land there is more affordable, so families are making the choice to move to Burton,” said Taylor. “Until recently, it’s been seniors who’ve been moving there, retirees.”

There are some factors working in the parent’s favour. Burton is the most recently built school in the district, constructed in the late 1990s. It’s been kept in good condition, and some programs — a pre-school program and an outdoor entrepreneurship program — still use the building. Community volunteers have also repurposed the building as the Burton Community Learning Centre, fostering activities related to fitness, community information and services, food security and arts and culture.

It also helps that the school is located on established bus routes, said Taylor.

But reopening a school is a longer-term commitment, and that will take funding security, says Taylor.

“The big piece we have to do is running forecasts, financial projections, and consider the impact of re-opening it on Nakusp Elementary,” she said. The enrollment in the district overall has been shrinking for several years.

Also complicating the issue is that the provincial funding formula for schools is under review, said Taylor. They’re expecting to hear how the new formula will work in 2019.

“We know how funding works now, there are some advantages to small rural schools, geographic factors etc.,” she said. “But we don’t know how the funding formula will work moving forward.

“Part of what I told the parents is we have to talk to the ministry about the funding model, so we know we have some kind of certainty after March 2019.”

They also have to have a commitment from a solid core of parents. Any class would be multi-year — think one-room school house — and there has to be a minimum of 15 students to make the project feasible.

“It is a complicated piece of planning, the biggest cost is staff, it’s 85 per cent of our budget,” she said.

Taylor says she’ll be bringing the issue forward to trustees at the next school board meeting, on Dec. 12.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

Man found dead identified as Andreas Pittinger

Pittinger was known locally for hosting a radio show

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

Man seriously hurt after police shooting near Nelson

Incident has been reported to provincial police watchdog

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Most Read