Nova Scotia

Lack of Riverport students triggers early shutdown

The Riverport and District Elementary School will be closed early because there are no students registered for the upcoming year.

The Riverport and District Elementary School will be shut down months earlier than planned because there are no students registered for the upcoming year.

The South Shore Regional School Board voted Wednesday to close the school on June 30 instead of December.

There are eight students attending Riverport Elementary right now. The school was supposed to remain open this fall until Bluenose Academy in Lunenburg opened its doors in January.

Superintendent Nancy Pynch-Worthylake said parents recently told the board they were sending their children to two other schools in the area.

"We didn't know what each individual family would do," she told CBC News. "Some felt strongly about leaving their children there."

Earlier this year, the board estimated it would cost $66,000 to have a teacher, office worker and janitor at Riverport from September to December, and another $18,000 for utilities and maintenance.

The plan was later amended so that only a teacher and custodian would be at the school.

The early closure comes as the board grapples with a shortfall of $2.7 million, due to a cut in provincial funding and escalating costs. Dozens of jobs are being cut.

"For us, any amount of savings is significant," said Pynch-Worthylake.

Pynch-Worthylake said the teacher at Riverport is retiring and the custodian will be placed elsewhere.

Riverport and District Elementary School was established in 1967. The closure marks an end of an era.

But with the new school opening in Lunenburg, "it's the beginning of a new time too," said Pynch-Worthylake.

This fall, elementary students in the area can go to Centre Consolidated School or Lunenburg Academy, though only Centre Consolidated has bus service.

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