French school delayed a year

The wait for a French school in Revelstoke will have to go on for another year after a decision was made to postpone opening the school until at least 2012.

The wait for a French school in Revelstoke will have to go on for another year after a decision was made to postpone opening the school until at least 2012.

“People are very dissapointed,” said Caroline Grenier, who has lead local efforts for the school.  “They were asking for at least ten kids to be enrolled. We did have that but they thought it was not sufficient and it was too unstable. We were just the minimum.”

The decision was made by B.C.’s Francophone School District (FSD) after fewer students than expected registered and they were unable to find a space in one of the existing schools to hold classes.

The school was expected to open this year with a joint kindergarten/grade one class. It was expected that 14 students would register but in the end, only ten were signed up – the bare minimum required for a school.

At the same time, negotiations to rent a classroom in one of the existing schools fell through because of a lack of certainty of space, said Pierre Claveau, the FSD spokesperson.

“It’s very difficult to negotiate with the Anglophone school board at the moment because they seem to not be clear about the space they could have for the Francophone services,” he said. “We could have a space in the community centre but on the other hand that space would not be very compatible with school security.”

Grenier said the goal now for 2012 is to open with a kindergarten to grade two program and she said up to 20 kids could be registered – if parents are all on board.

“It’s so brand new that people are waiting for the school to be out there before registering,” she said. “Everyone is waiting to see but if everyone is doing that we’ll never have a school.”

Claveau said the application would be put revised in the fall and negotiations would continue with the local school district.

“We don’t need that much room, we don’t take that much room and we pay for it,” he said. “We’re very sorry for that because we want to accommodate the parents and we know their desire to do that but on the other hand we’re aiming at the viability, at the long term life of this program.”


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