St. Paul Education Regional Division (SPERD) has taken steps to close two of its outreach schools, permanently, after the current school year.
Should SPERD decide to close the schools, both New Horizons, St. Paul Campus and the Elk Point Outreach School (EPOS) will be closed, effective fall 2020.
This decision is outside of COVID-19 closures.
SPERD board chair, Heather Starosielski, said the discussion came from the superintendent’s recommendation, low enrollment, and funding model changes from the provincial government.
EPOS has 16 students enrolled and is projected to have 12 for 2020-21 school year. Whereas the New Horizons school has four enrolled and is projected to have eight.
Starosielski explained that school structures have changed since the opening of both schools, “it is more inclusive.”
Explaining that should the schools close, students would attend a SPERD school closest to home, in most cases EPOS students at FG Miller and New Horizons at Regional.
Part of the discussion the board will have is how the students attending outreach schools will be successful in a public school setting.
Concerned parent, Carole Kulczycki reached out to Lakeland Connect to express her disappointment in the possible closure of the outreach school in Elk Point. “I’m very upset,” said the mom of two students of EPOS.
“Both my sons attended the EPOS, my eldest managed to graduate with a lot of support and convincing in 2019. If he wasn’t at the EPOS he would have dropped out.”
Kulczycki created EPOS with the success she’s seen in her younger son as well. “My youngest has attended EPOS since 2018 and has amazed us his Parents and Teachers. Before attending the EPOS he was done, he was in a position of failure. It was a battle everyday to get him out the door (to attend traditional school). He was lost and had we not made the change he would of been a dropout.”
Kulczycki said her son has since excelled at EPOS, “he has caught up to his peers and is looking at graduating in 2021.”
The board issued a letter to the parents of students enrolled in the schools stating that they will give the public an opportunity to address any concerns.
“Losing this school will be devastating not only to the students but also to the community of Elk Point,” Kulczycki explained. “The students at EPOS Volunteer countless hours shoveling sidewalks and driveways for seniors and those incapable of this.”
Starosielski stated that the board will take into consideration public’s, parents’ and students’ input in making their decision.
Due to COVID-19 SPERD will be hosting a virtual meeting on Thursday, May 14th, 2020 at 7:00 pm for those interested. To participate, email Jean Champagne at [email protected] Interested parties will receive a Zoom invitation to allow them to participate from afar.
**Note in an earlier version of this article it had stated the board had voted to close the school. That information was incorrect. The board has put forth a notice of motion to discuss the possible closure.