Greater Victoria families with children attending École Beausoleil now have the comfort of knowing their school community will remain together this September and for many years to come.
“Francophone families in Victoria deserve to have access to the same high-quality education in both of Canada’s official languages,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “With funding now in place for a modular school to be built for École Beausoleil students, those families now have certainty that their school can continue to operate while work is underway on a permanent solution.”
The Government of B.C. is providing $9.9 million for the Conseil scolaire Francophone (CSF) to build a temporary, 12-unit modular school on the property of Braefoot Elementary to be ready for students by September 2021.
“We recognize this has been a difficult situation for Beausoleil students and their families,” said Murray Rankin, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. “That’s why we have worked closely with the CSF to ensure the school has a facility in place as soon as possible, which will allow students to continue learning in French in our community.”
The modular school will be connected by covered walkways to create a “village” and provide all the amenities needed to facilitate a safe, functional and positive learning environment for students.
“The CSF is happy with the progress made recently on the temporary solution for families at École Beausoleil, with the construction of a welcoming, functional modular school that will be ready for the start of the 2021-22 school year in September,” said Patrick Gatien, chair, CSF Board of Education. “At the same time, the CSF is working hard in collaboration with SD61 to finalize the last stages in confirming the Lansdowne site for the construction of a permanent building to serve francophone families in Victoria, as outlined in the recent announcement on the major progress that has been made on that front.”
Beausoleil is currently a K-3 school. The modular facility will offer K-4 programming in 2021 and expand to include grades 5 and 6 in 2022 and 2023. This will allow students to stay learning at Beausoleil as they progress through these grades. Space will be available for the existing Les Rigolos before- and after-school child care program at the school in September 2021.
“I am so pleased to see the collaboration between the Greater Victoria School District, the CSF and our government has produced a solution that will keep the Beausoleil school community together for many years to come,” said Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake. “I welcome students and staff to our community and remain committed to supporting our government’s work with the CSF to find a permanent home for Beausoleil students in the future.”
Since 2015, the CSF has been operating École Beausoleil on a lease from the Greater Victoria School District (GVSD) at the Sundance Elementary facility in Victoria. That lease was extended for an additional year and expires in June 2021. The GVSD will reopen the school in September for its own students.
The modular school at Braefoot will be in place until a permanent school can be built for Beausoleil students. Work is underway to make that happen.
The CSF and the GVSD are working toward an agreement that would see the GVSD sell almost three hectares (7.3 acres) of land at the Lansdowne Middle school campus to the CSF to build a permanent École Beausoleil. A final decision by the GVSD board on this transfer will be informed by a public consultation process, which is ongoing.
The Ministry of Education is working with both parties to ensure funding is in place for the purchase of the site, which is the next step toward building a permanent school in the future.
“Our board of education is pleased to be able to assist CSF in finding a temporary space for their school community while we continue to work on finding them a permanent home,” said Jordan Watters, chair, Greater Victoria Board of Education. “We understand that school transitions are never easy. However, we have full confidence the new learning studios they’ll be moving into will provide an exceptional learning environment for staff and students.”
Since September 2017, the Province has provided the CSF with a total of $23.5 million, which includes funding to purchase school sites in Kamloops and Penticton to ensure francophone students have a permanent school in their communities, with more to come.
For a French translation: https://news.gov.bc.ca/24055#translations