School District 73 to operate school at Sun Peaks

School District 73's trustees agreed, as of Aug. 27, to open a new school at Sun Peaks for kindergarten to Grade 5 students, as of Sept. 4

When students in Sun Peaks head back to school, it won’t be quite the same as they remember.

After several months of discussion, School District 73’s board of trustees agreed, as of Aug. 27, to open a new school at Sun Peaks for kindergarten to Grade 5 students, as of Sept. 4.

Under the new agreement, the Sun Peaks municipality will supply classroom space and pay maintenance costs, while the school district will supply teachers, office equipment and administrators, SD73 superintendent Terry Sullivan told KTW.

Because those costs are covered by provincial operating grants, Sullivan said the new school won’t have a major impact on the district’s budget. But, he said, the agreement couldn’t have gone ahead if the municipality hadn’t provided the space.

“The problem we have is that we have all kinds of excess space in the school district. It’s not in the right places, though,” he said. “As a result of that, the province really hasn’t given us any money for capital additions, renovations or new schools.”

The school is expected to have 41 students to start and will run at Sun Peaks’ Discovery Centre for Balanced Education, where the district has run a distance-education program since 2010.

Sullivan said the new school will replace that program at the primary level, though about nine students in higher grades will continue with the old Discovery Centre programming.

To start, two substitute teachers will oversee a kindergarten to Grade 1 and a Grade 2 to 5 class, with permanent staff likely coming on board in the third week of September.

Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine said the community is “delighted” to have the school district bring programming to the space.

Until now, facilitators working with students at the Discovery Centre have been paid for by the Sun Peaks Education Society (which will continue to pay for a teacher for the school’s secondary students), but running the distance-learning program has become more and more expensive.

“The Education Society raised about $120,000 last year just to fund the operation of the school here,” he said.

“This year, their costs probably would have been closer to $160,000. That’s a lot of money to raise in a small community.”

As part of that fundraising, Sun Peaks’ mayor and council contribute their annual stipends – about $34,000 in total – to the community’s education fund, a practice Raine said will continue under the new agreement.

One portion of the new agreement, however, has school trustee Meghan Wade concerned.

Wade, the only trustee to vote against the agreement, said she’s in favor of most of the plan and wants to see a school at Sun Peaks. But, she said she couldn’t support a portion of the agreement that allows for a four-day school week at the school.

While the distance-learning program in the community used a four-day week, Wade said face-to-face schooling makes that schedule more challenging.

“We have got little people, five years old.

“And a four-day school week means a longer school day,” she said.

“When you start to miss school for whatever reason, more is packed into those four days. So, in one day, you are missing more.”

Wade said she’s asked for an educational justification for the four-day week during past board discussions on the school, but hasn’t received an answer.

“I needed reasons other than, ‘That’s what we’re used to,’ to agree to that schedule shift, and I didn’t receive it,” she said.

However, Sullivan said that, despite the agreement, the four-day week isn’t a sure thing for Sun Peaks.

To make that kind of change to the school calendar, the district must reach an agreement with the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Association – which requires 40 working days notice.

“We don’t have an agreement. We haven’t even had a chance to talk to the association about this,” Sullivan said.


“We can’t start with a four-day week. We have to start with a five-day week.”

– Kamloops This Week


Just Posted

Part of a larger syndrome

Editor, The Times:

Love and Power Retreat weekend almost here

Finding peace, beauty, and acceptance

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Clearwater residents participate in Amazing Race

Race was set up and run by the Barriere Outdoor Club on Oct. 5

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Most Read