Deroche school a community social hub: parents

Rene Inkster

Rene Inkster

Closing Deroche Elementary School would eliminate one of the rural community’s social gathering hubs, parents told school board trustees last Wednesday.

“We rely on each other … we rely on our school,” explained Richelle Meneghetti, Deroche PAC chair.

That sentiment was echoed by numerous speakers last week when the public meeting was held at the school as Mission Public Schools considers closing Deroche and Durieu elementary. “Shutting down our school is like shutting down our community.”

Alisha Trottier has a daughter in Grade 1 and two sons attending an early learning program program offered in the school.

“If it wasn’t for the StrongStart program here at Deroche, none of us parents would have known that we all lived within five minutes of each other. That’s one of the downsides of living in a rural community,” she said. “We don’t have any other common ground except Deroche elementary.”

Declining enrolment is the main argument used to justify closing the school, however, several parents said the numbers used are flawed and lack community knowledge.

The district uses Baragar, an independent company, to run enrolment projections. The company has estimated there are 41 children zero to four years old in Deroche’s catchment area.

The PAC says there are 51, including 20 from the nearby Leq’a:mel First Nation.

Baragar estimates enrolment will total 64 students in 2015/2016 but parents say their research shows an estimated 74 children will be at the school four years from now, which is higher than Deroche’s current student total.

“This leads us to wonder why our estimated enrolment is decreasing when it should be increasing,” said PAC president Meneghetti. “Looking at the Baragar projections we have found that they are assumptions without local knowledge, supporting trends like women under 20 years of age and women over 34 years of age are not within child-bearing years.”

However, she continued, a neighbour had a child at 16 and the 35-year-old PAC treasurer is expecting a baby shortly.

“Can anyone really accurately predict who is moving into a community? Who is moving out? How many teens are using precautions properly or how many 35-40 year olds decide to have just one more?” Meneghetti asked.

The school board presentation kicked off the evening and noted approximately $288,500 would be saved by closing the school.

Parents challenged that number and listed some of the new costs and loss of grants which cut away at the potential savings. A new bus route could cost upwards of $50,000, and the district would lose the $157,500 small community grant currently paid by the Ministry of Education if the school closed, said Meneghetti.

Important dates

• Written submissions and/or requests to make a presentation to the board on Feb. 22 must be received by Feb. 5.

• Regular board of education meeting, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m., Hatzic elementary.

• Trustees decided which, if any, of the schools will close at a Feb. 22 meeting at Hatzic secondary school, 7 p.m. Written submissions regarding the closure must be sent to the secretary-treasurer or superintendent by Feb. 8.

Just Posted

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

web
Father’s Day Parade planned for Mission

Classic vehicles from the 1920s to the 1970s will drive through Mission, Hatzic on June 20

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

Most Read