Port Renfrew Elementary School could receive more than $200

Port Renfrew school hoping to draw on $200,000 provincial grant

Provincial Rural Enhancement Grant designed to aid smaller rural schools

Port Renfrew Elementary School could receive more than $200,000 in provincial subsidies in 2017, despite a record-low number of students.

Earlier this year, the Sooke School District applied for a Rural Enhancement Grant –provincewide funds meant to aid smaller rural schools such as Port Renfrew, said Sooke School District superintendent Jim Cambridge.

“We were very concerned about the number of children in the school and the costs of operating it, so we can expect it sometime next year,” he said.

The school won’t shut down, but with only six students, its progress this year isn’t what was expected, Cambridge added.

“We were expecting to see 12 children this year, so six is quite a drop,” he said. “When you’re dealing with small numbers, that can happen very quickly. Two families move out and that could be half the school population.”

Right now, the school is staffed by a teacher, an educational assistant and a support teacher.

Cambridge added part of why student numbers have declined is the school’s limited kindergarten to Grade 5 levels, and that the school district has considered ideas such as expanding the grades and offer a middle school to possibly stimulate attendance.

Still, though, it’s not that simple.

“It’s a catch-22. The more kids you have, the better the offerings there can be, and more variety in the school. But then people are hesitant to do it if there aren’t enough kids to begin with,” Cambridge said.

Despite what today’s student numbers at Port Renfrew Elementary suggest, the school was packed with 120 kids more than 30 years ago, recalled Sooke School District board chair Bob Phillips, who served as a child protection worker there in the mid-1970s.

“The numbers in the school fluctuated based on the economics of the community,” Phillips said, adding logging and mill closures caused the population to decline, causing droves of families to move closer to urban centres.

Given its size, the school had kitchen facilities, an in-house library, among other amenities, making it feel “like a mini community centre.”

Where and how next year’s grant will be used in the school’s favour remains to be explored, Phillips noted.

 

Just Posted

Pot regulation hazy for Sooke businesses

Sooke stores will continue to operate after Oct. 17

Smoking pot? Your dentist wants to know

Vancouver dentist and cannabis researcher shares oral health concerns of marijuana

Bizarre accident sends vehicle into water

Elderly Sooke resident involved in an accident in his driveway

Fall-ing for unseasonably warm weather in Victoria

Environment Canada forecast calls for sunshine through weekend

Wait times for ICBC road tests increase in Victoria

Increase has no connection with tests becoming more challenging: ICBC

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

BCTF wins grievance over teacher shortage in public schools

Arbitrator found Chilliwack school district did not hire enough on-call teachers or librarians

Mt. Washington to open ZipTour

Multi-stage zipline is largest summer investment in resort’s history

Workers at BC Interior mill strike as negotiations resume in Kelowna

Picket lines went up at 4 a.m Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Tolko Lakeview Division in Williams Lake

Toronto Police ID B.C. man as naked shark tank jumper

David Weaver, of Nelson, is wanted on mischief and assault charges

In Florida, families seeking the missing amid storm damage

Five days after the hurricane slammed into the Florida Panhandle, people are struggling to locate friends and loved ones.

Prince Harry and Meghan start Aussie tour with baby gifts

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on a 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

Most Read