School board chair Rose Zitko (fourth from the right) poses for a photo with board trustees. Photo: sd51.bc.ca

School board chair Rose Zitko (fourth from the right) poses for a photo with board trustees. Photo: sd51.bc.ca

Boundary school board to host MES talks in Greenwood

Next week’s meeting will be broadcast via Facebook Live, says board chair

The Boundary Board of Education (school board) has scheduled a third round of talks ahead of its vote on whether or not to close Midway Elementary School (MES).

Potentially affected parents and staff are invited to join board trustees and School District 51 (SD 51) administrators at Greenwood Elementary School (GES) Thursday evening, March 10, according to board chair Rose Zitko.

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“This time, we’ll be hoping to have more of a question and answer session,” Zitko said Friday, Mach 4. The school district isn’t calling for written submissions ahead of time, as it had done before the last round of talks at Midway’s Boundary Central Secondary School (BCSS) on Feb. 24, she added.

Closing MES would see the school’s 31 students and small retinue of staff join their fellows at GES starting in September, according to SD 51. Top district administrator’s say the proposed amalgamation would make it easier to bring on qualified teachers, while boosting adult supervision during school hours.

But Midway residents broadly rejected the proposal when they had the chance to speak at BCSS, including Midway Mayor Martin Fromme and retired principal Walt Osellame.

READ MORE: School district gives update on potential Midway school closure

READ MORE: West Boundary municipalities disagree about proposed school closure

Greenwood Mayor Barry Noll poses for a photo as Greenwood Elementary School kids play at the city’s Lions Park on June 17, 2021. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Greenwood Mayor Barry Noll poses for a photo as Greenwood Elementary School kids play at the city’s Lions Park on June 17, 2021. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Greenwood city council meanwhile supported the proposal in a Feb. 17 letter to SD 51.

The letter states that, “The City of Greenwood’s council agree with the safety and financial concerns addressed by the Board of Education and support the change of Greenwood Elementary back into a K-7 school,” followed by a request that SD 51 not publish its contents.

Mayor Barry Noll, who signed the letter, said council resolved its position via email shortly before SD 51’s submission deadline. Council formally adopted the resolution at its last regular meeting Monday, Feb. 28, Noll said.

Noll said he would attend the meeting at GES, stressing that as “sister communities,” Greenwood and Midway “are attached at the hip.”

“At the end of the day, it’s the elected members of the board that have to make the decision. And they’ll decide what’s in the best interests of the children,” Noll said.

(Front: L-R) Penny Feist, Chief Administrative Officer at the Village of Midway sits next to Mayor Martin Fromme. In behind are (L-R) Couns. Darrin Metcalf, Gary Schierbeck, Richard Dunsdon and Fred Grouette. Photo: midwaybc.ca

(Front: L-R) Penny Feist, Chief Administrative Officer at the Village of Midway sits next to Mayor Martin Fromme. In behind are (L-R) Couns. Darrin Metcalf, Gary Schierbeck, Richard Dunsdon and Fred Grouette. Photo: midwaybc.ca

Fromme said he also planned to attend. Midway Coun. Fred Grouette would likely be there as well.

“He’s committed himself to following the proposal quite closely for us,” Fromme explained.

The GES meeting will be broadcast via Facebook live by SD 51 starting at 6 p.m. Zitko said all COVID-19 protocols will be in effect when the meeting gets underway at the school’s gym, with seating priority given to parents and staff.

The school board is set to vote on MES’s future on March. 15.

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