Kamloops This Week
The Kamloops-Thompson school board is assuring parents that schools in the North Thompson Valley will remain open this fall despite the pending mill closure in Vavenby.
Canfor Corp. will close its sawmill in Vavenby in July, eliminating 178 jobs. The company plans to sell its timber rights to Interfor Corp. for $60 million.
The school board has unanimously approved notifying parents that Vavenby and Raft River elementary and Clearwater secondary will be staffed and operating as normal for the 2019-2020 school year.
After that, there’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding the future of those schools, board chair Kathleen Karpuk told KTW.
“At that point, we’re going to be monitoring where our student numbers are,” Karpuk said. “We don’t know if families will remain.”
There are 17 students enrolled in the single-teacher Vavenby elementary — three in kindergarten, six in Grade 2, four in Grade 3 and four in Grade 4.
There is the possibility of up to eight kindergarten students enrolling in September for the 2019-2020 school year, according to an SD73 report issued before the mill closure was announced.
The school board recently approved reconfiguring the elementary school from a K-4 to a K-7 model due to enrolment growth beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.
Karpuk said adding Grade 5 is still a go for the fall.