School District No. 54 (Bulkley Valley) will keep its three schools in the Houston area – Houston Secondary, Twain Sullivan Elementary and Silverthorne Elementary – open. At least for now.
The possible closure of Silverthorne Elementary was one of the topics discussed during a school district facilities review recently held in Houston.
Savings associated with a school closure would be between $300,000 and $350,000 a year, but it would require the school district to reconfigure Houston’s approximately 520 students.
Although no decisions have been made with regard to a possible school closure, the school district is open to the possibility of a reconfiguration of schools, according to Dave Margerm, the school district’s secretary treasurer.
The school district is now requesting financial support from the Ministry of Education for additional educational facility space in Houston in the event of a school reconfiguration.
That’s because one of the reconfiguration options being considered involves consolidating all students into one K-12 school, which would make use of two facilities while adding additional “flexible and innovative” space, according to the school district.
Despite having space for students in two facilities, the school district questions if two facilities would provide an appropriate learning environment for students.
When it comes to the choice of which facility to close in the event of a school reconfiguration, the school district says the “economical and logical” choice would be to close Silverthorne Elementary.
While Twain Sullivan’s facility is 41 years old and has a more modern and efficient capital structure, Silverthorne’s facility is 63 years old and it costs approximately $23,000 more to operate annually.
Margerm said the closure of Silverthorne may be considered if there is a significant drop in ministry funding that would necessitate a reduction in facilities, or if there is extra ministry funding, which would allow for the restructuring of the schools.
The school district facilities review was held at Houston Secondary School on Nov. 22. The next facilities review will be held in November 2019.