Tom Demeo, acting superintendent of the Comox Valley School District, is recommending the closure of École Puntledge Park Elementary, effective June 30. Pending approval from the school board, Puntledge would operate out of Lake Trail School.
The recommendation was made official at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
The proposed closure has drawn much criticism from parents concerned about traffic and other safety issues. A Keep Puntledge at Puntledge group is campaigning to keep the school at 401 Willemar Ave.
The proposal is one of five consultations the board created in the fall. Each is inter-related. Demeo also recommends: a modification of the catchment area of Courtenay Elementary effective Sept. 1; Arden, Courtenay and Puntledge grade configuration changes to kindergarten to Grade 7; transfer Lake Trail Grade 8 and 9s to Vanier Secondary; and create dual track French immersion at Airport Elementary, beginning with K to Grade 1 in 2017.
Proposed changes could save SD71 about $720,000 a year. The district is facing an estimated $2.4 million shortfall heading into the 2016/17 school year, largely due to a declining enrolment of 143 students.
“It’s helpful to approach difficult decisions through guided principles,” Demeo said before a standing-room only crowd at Tuesday’s meeting. “I’d like to thank all staff and students and community members (for their input).”
The board will discuss the proposals and possibly make a decision by March 15.
Before that, the public will have an opportunity to address the board at a March 8 town hall-style meeting at Puntledge.