Francophone families in Kamloops will now have a permanent home for their school community at École Collines-d’Or.
“In a country with two official languages, it’s essential that francophone students have the same access to a robust educational experience as their anglophone peers,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “That’s why we are investing in a permanent school site for French-speaking students in Kamloops and will continue our work to find similar opportunities in other parts of the province.”
The Government of B.C. has provided over $2 million to the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF) to purchase property from the Kamloops-Thompson School District that includes the former Oak Hills Elementary school facility. The site is large enough to allow for a future expansion to meet the needs of K-12 francophone students in that community.
The CSF has been operating École Collines-d’Or, an elementary francophone school, in the existing facility on a short-term lease from the Kamloops-Thompson School District. The facility has an operating capacity of 88. Last year’s enrolment for grades K-8 was 87 students.
“We are very pleased with this announcement, which will further the CSF’s mission by providing stability for francophone students in Kamloops,” said Marie-Pierre Lavoie, president, CSF Board of Trustees. “The CSF is delighted that the collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Kamloops-Thompson School District has allowed the CSF to acquire a school site so that it can begin planning for the facilities required to provide K-12 francophone education.”
The primary school was built for School District 73 in 1981. The one-storey building includes four classrooms, a staff room, administration office space and an activity room. The school was closed by the Kamloops-Thompson School District in 2006 due to declining student enrolment.
This investment is part of the Province’s work to provide equal educational opportunities to francophone students in British Columbia. The Ministry of Education is also working with the CSF to fund and acquire school sites for francophone students in identified communities throughout the Province.
Earlier this year, government provided $11.5 million for the CSF to buy property in Penticton for École Entre-Lacs so French-speaking students in that community could have a permanent home for their education.
The CSF also opened the new École des Pionniers-de-Maillardville in Port Coquitlam, another facility that will provide a permanent home for francophone education. The new school was completed in 2019.
Rhonda Kershaw, chair, Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education –
“We are pleased to be in a position to sell Oak Hills Elementary to Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique in support of both the francophone school district and the Ministry of Education. The SD73 board wants to acknowledge the ministry’s significant capital investment in the Valleyview Secondary expansion, and we are encouraged other Kamloops projects are high on the priority list for additional capital investment in our district.”
Suzana Straus, présidente de la Fédération des parents francophones de Colombie-Britannique –
“The acquisition of École Collines-d’Or by the CSF now makes it possible to create a space in which students can develop and grow throughout their school years. We also hope that in the future, this site will be able to accommodate classes up to Grade 12, as well as early childhood services for francophone families in Kamloops. The support from the Ministry of Education is a step in the right direction in recognizing the educational needs of the province’s francophones.”
For a French translation: http://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EDUC0069-001768#translations