Although Houston residents have been invited to a presentation to discuss the future use of School District No. 54 (Bulkley-Valley) facilities next week, it’s still unclear whether the closure of Silverthorne Elementary is a strong possibility.
Last week Houston Today asked if the possible closure of Silverthorne Elementary would be one of the topics discussed during the facilities review, but the school district did not provide a clear answer.
According to the school district, the upcoming review will be undertaken to share and discuss information such as enrolment trends, capacity utilization, costs and asset management issues.
“We are currently in the process of assessing the facilities data and information in order to make recommendations to the board,” said Dave Margerm, the school district’s secretary treasurer, last month.
Funding protection for the school district has significantly decreased, dropping from $741,701 in the 2017-18 school year to an estimated $195,586 in the current school year.
“Funding protection is one aspect of a district’s total financial position and will be utilized in determining recommendations for a facilities review,” explained Margerm.
Silverthorne’s current enrollment is approximately 160 students. The enrollment has remained stable at about 160 students for the past five years, with the exception of last year, when it dropped to about 153 students.
A school closure would save the district between $300,000 and $400,000 per year in operating costs, but would leave Houston with only one elementary school. School District 54 administration has insisted no teachers would be laid off, though administrative positions would be lost.
The facilities review will be held at Houston Secondary School on Thursday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m.
– With files from Chris Gareau