Oyster River School closure D-day delayed

A self-declared conflict of interest at the beginning of the school closure consultation process has spurred a slight change to the timeline of that process.

At last week’s public meeting of the Board of Education, School District 72 (SD72) secretary treasurer Kevin Patrick suggested the possibility of moving the final decision on the closure of Oyster River Elementary at a Special Meeting on March 16 instead of the day before at the board’s regular public meeting.

Trustee Daryl Hagen has declared a conflict of interest in the closure discussions surrounding Oyster River Elementary, and as such, according to Patrick, “the board is now required to hold two separate meetings for each of the potential school closures.”

He also suggested that “regular business for both of those meetings be tabled and that the focus just be closure conversation and decision.”

Trustee Joyce McMann said she thinks the idea of having separate meetings to discuss and decide on the school closures independently of each other was a good idea anyway, no matter the reasoning for doing so. The motion to schedule the Special Meeting for March 16 for discussion and decision regarding the possible closure of Oyster River Elementary was made by Trustee Richard Franklin, seconded by Trustee John Kerr, and passed unanimously. It will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the SD72 offices at 425 Pinecrest Rd. The decision about Discovery Passage will still be made at the regularly scheduled public meeting on March 15.

The district is still compiling the comments received from the first series of public meetings – held at each  respective school on Jan. 25 and 27 – and will be releasing a Q&A to address questions and concerns as soon as possible.

The second and final public consultation meetings will be held at Discovery Passage Elementary on March 1 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and at Oyster River Elementary on March 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

and written submissions are still being received by the Board of Education until Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. Submissions can be sent c/o the Secretary-Treasurer at the School Board Office, 425 Pinecrest Road, Campbell River BC, V9W 3P2 or by email to facilities.plan@sd72.bc.ca The Board will also hear public submissions at their Feb. 23 public board meeting being held at the School Board Office (425 Pinecrest Road) at 7:30 p.m. Information regarding the school closure consultation process including an online forum, the 2015-2025 Facility Plan, the facility closure recommendation report, and school information packages can be found on the district website at sc72.bc.ca/schoolclosures