School board passes capital plan, closes school year

Chilliwack school trustees break off for summer months to reconvene in September

The Chilliwack board of school trustees wrapped up the bulk of their business for the school year on Tuesday night, with a shorter than usual meeting.

They passed both their Long Range Facilities Plan and their Five-Year Capital Plan unanimously, speaking positively about what may come in the new school year.

Both items were previously presented to the trustees by staff for consideration, and lay out the big picture plans for the district. The top item on the district’s wish list is a new school along the Vedder River at the end of Tyson, for which property has already been purchased. Next on the list is the planned expansion of G.W. Graham Secondary (currently a middle-secondary school). Third on the list is an expansion of Chilliwack secondary, the city’s newest school.

The plan lists costs of each project at about $35 million, $25 million and $20 million, respectively. Secretery-treasurer Gerry Slykhuis said those figures are “very, very ballpark” at this point. And while they are wish list items, the new space is sorely needed in Chilliwack, one of the most overcapacity districts in the province.

Slykhuis told the board that he’s “very optimistic about the south side area school.”

The Province recently gave Chilliwack School District money to spend on a study to show the need for a new school. Slykhuis noted that with 40 portables being added to their current 70, the need is obvious.

The board will meet next on September 19. Trustee Silvia Dyck pointed out that they are elected officials, and should remain available throughout the summer.

Summer school

In Superintendent Evelyn Novak’s final report of the school year, she noted that summer school is filling up quickly. About 500 students have already enrolled for a variety of summer learning programs. They range from elementary reading and writing skills to a secondary school sustainable vegetable production course. Summer programming mostly takes place at Chilliwack secondary school throughout the month of July.

Many of the programs are already full with waiting lists being started.

For more information on what courses are still available for students, visit the Chilliwack School District’s website under Programs and Departments.