The parents of students at Ecole Beausoleil on Bank Street hope a one year extension on their current lease will be enough time to find a new location.
The school’s current lease of the former Sundance building ends in June of 2020 but they believe the Greater Victoria School District will grant an extension.
It’s been a time of hope but also stress for the community of teachers, students and parents who have watched the school grow from a handful of students to 86 this year. This past summer the Greater Victoria School District’s education board – which is in its own state of emergency in need of space for its ballooning elementary and middle school population – voted to reclaim the century-old Bank Street facility and combine it with the Sundance facility.
In the meantime, the kids at Beausoleil are going on tour. At least, their choir is.
This month they’ll perform for the residents of Glengarry and Mount St. Mary hospitals.
It’s been a fast build for the community of Beausoleil, which is in the French School District, and which opened with just 15 students in 2015 and serves classes from kindergarten to Grade 3. Not only is Beausoleil seeking a new home but its parent advisory council is also wondering when they’ll ascertain equal resources from the Ministry of Education that the province’s regular stream system gets, said Beausoleil PAC president Rebecca Mellett.
Last year the Supreme Court ruled in favour of an appeal by the French School District (Conseil Scolaire Francophone) and the B.C. Federation of Francophone Parents against the B.C. Ministry of Education, claiming discrimination and under funding of public schooling for the French population.
The final decision on extending the lease hasn’t come before the SD61 board yet and neither has the nuances of how the historic Bank Street building will get its estimated $5 million in seismic upgrades.
“We have not seen the terms and conditions, although evidently portables will be installed to share the property with English classes,” said Mellett. “[If that happens] it will be interesting to see which kids are relegated to the outside versus inside classes.”