The city of Fort St. John has been involved in an ongoing discussion about the benefits of building new schools in the community for a few years now.
This discussion continues because the city of Fort St. John has seen an increase in population and enrollment of students within the School District 60.
Things seem to be moving along with the idea and plans of opening 3 new K-12 schools within the community.
The Ministry of Education has finally announced that they will be purchasing $7 million dollars of land to undergo this big project of building three new schools.
There are two sites that have been purchased that are within the cities limits. The first location is located in the northwestern part of the city at a cost of $4.2 million dollars. This piece of land will be the location of one new elementary school and one new middle school.
The second location is near the Fort St. John hospital costing $2.2 million dollars and this will be the location for the second elementary school.
Even though the purchasing of the land may not seem like a big accomplishment it is still a step towards having new schools that are operational and running in the community.
“The $7 million is only the beginning of the investment that we are going to make in this community, it is going to allow us to acquire the school sites in this school district and it is a commitment to then build on those school sites. The facilities are going to be in Fort St. John and in the region for the years to come,” said The B.C. Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender.
This step towards building the schools and making them operational is greatly significant because of the increased growth, increase in population, and enrollment in the School Distracts 60.
In addition, with regards to the growing population it has increased by roughly 200 students in the past year. The school district is also estimated to have an increase of 25% in enrollment by 2023.
This is why the new schools are of great importance and have a positive effect on the people of the community of Fort St. John.
Peter Fassbender also realizes that other cities within the province are experiencing the same population growth in their city.
With relation to when the two new elementary schools and the one middle school will be built, there is no exact timeline. However, the process has been moving forward quickly and the schools should be built in no time.
The B.C. Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender also recognizes that if Fort St. John is experiencing the growing demand of schools and staff because of the increased enrollment of students; that other cities of the province are also facing similar challenges. This will also need to be addressed and solved.
The Minister of Education is not only focusing on expanding the space for the Education District 60, but is also focusing and discussing ways to better improve the BC education system.
Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender also is aware of how Fort St. John is a part of a region that is a lot different, compared to larger cities like Vancouver. Therefore, understands, that some issues regarding the education programs need to be approached and solved in a different manner. This means that the ministry of education needs to trying something new to solve this problem.
The issue of budget cuts and paying for transportation still has not been addressed. However, the Ministry of education outlines how other cities like Vancouver have been paying for transportation for a while now and that this isn’t a new issue.
To further understand and get ideas of how to make the education system better, Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender took part of the Innovation Tour.
Innovation Tour is a “premier gathering for senior cabinet members and district administrators from across the country with the goal of encouraging innovation in teaching and learning and maximizing current technologies and funding to advance student achievement”.
Through this tour Mr. Fassbender went to the North Peace Secondary School to listen to student’s thoughts and opinions about credit programs, work experience, career training and ways to improve the education system for the students.
One main concern that was brought up numerous times is the issue regarding N driving licenses. This is because after students complete a work term they cannot be hired after because the requirement is having a full driver’s license. Therefore, this puts limitations and restrictions for a lot of students.
As a result, the Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender recognizes that some cities like Fort St. John have to be treated in a unique way towards managing their life in the community. And the issue of the driver’s license is something that he will consider addressing.
The community of Fort St. John overall is pleased to see that the Ministry of Education is addressing issues of the growing number of students in the past few years. And how they are taking action and considering the needs for the schools, teacher, and the student’s future.