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City to respond to SD 20 school closure plans

City of Castlegar mayor and council have referred a School District 20 (SD 20) report to committee in preparation for drafting a letter expressing dismay at the district's proposals.

The letter is in response to SD 20's new plans to reduce costs, which includes the closure of the Blueberry Communtiy School Hub.

"I thought it was important to bring this to council's attention, as there's a bunch of facts in here I find distasteful for the Castlegar community - especially the closure of Blueberry Creek School," said councillor Kevin Chernoff, addressing council at its regular meeting Monday. "That wasn't even on the table (in earlier discussions). It came out of the blue."
 

He said Blueberry Creek is one school that is almost money-making for the district, in that it receives a great deal of targeted grant money, "and now they're talking about closing it?"

Councillor Deb McIntosh said she agreed with Chernoff's argument, as moving Blueberry Creek programming to another facility may well mean the loss of much of that targeted funding.

"That money won't necessarily move with them - it doesn't work that way," she said. "So it looks like it would be another loss of up to $250,000 for our youth."

The SD 20 report was referred to council's Community Wellness Committee, where they will begin drafting the city's response, but councillor Kirk Duff said any such response would be made more difficult by the fact that the SD 20 report didn't include financial figures to explain the decision within.

"There are no monetary values attached, so we don't even know if this plan is financially feasible at this point," Duff said.