Community rallies to keep Hedley Elementary School

    HEDLEY, BC, Jan. 10 /CNW/ - activists joined parents and teachers last
night to help save the elementary school in Hedley, B.C.
    A number of speakers made presentations to the Okanagan/Similkameen Board
of Education (School District No. 53) addressing the question, "should School
District No. 53 continue to deliver an educational program to students in
    The answer was a resounding yes. CUPE 523 president Zoe Magnus and
sub-local president George Bush, who represent staff in the district,
presented a substantial CUPE brief with research on the benefits of small
classrooms and schools on children's educational experience, the negative
impacts of long bus rides and the folly of relying on unreliable testing data.
    "Hedley Elementary should not become another statistic in the sad story
of school closures in B.C. Since 2002 more than 130 schools have closed in
British Columbia, striking at the heart of dozens of communities, many of
these in rural districts," says Magnus.
    Pointing out that enrolment levels will remain constant for the next
while and that the school closure may actually cost the Board of Education
more money, CUPE 523's George Bush asks why the Board is thinking about
closing this school if it will have a negative financial impact on the school
district, and parents oppose the idea?
    The Board plans to respond to questions and make a final decision at its
January 23 meeting. CUPE will continue to work with the community to convince
the Board to explore all avenues to keep the school open, including taking
this issue to the Ministry of Education. Hedley Elementary School is a
multi-grade K-4 school, with one teacher, one teaching assistant and twelve
students. CUPE 523 represents 162 CUPE members working in School District
No. 53.
    CUPE's presentation
( and more
information are available at

For further information:

For further information: Zoe Magnus, CUPE 523 president, (250) 809-9521
cell; Roseanne Moran, CUPE Communications, (604) 291-1940,

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - BC Regional

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