St. Joseph’s School students celebrate after finding out their school will be staying open. There’ll be an even bigger celebration at the school today (Thursday, Feb. 8). (Photo by Don Bodger)

St. Joseph’s School students celebrate after finding out their school will be staying open. There’ll be an even bigger celebration at the school today (Thursday, Feb. 8). (Photo by Don Bodger)

Threatened Chemainus school rallies community, avoids closure

St. Joseph’s Elementary School will remain open, district decides

St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School in Chemainus is going into celebration mode.

A victory party will be held at the school Thursday, Feb. 8 from 3-4 p.m. following the news that the Island Catholic Schools Board of Directors voted to keep St. Joseph’s open. The public is invited to participate.

Many factors played a part in alleviating the $800,000 deficit he school had accumulated during the past two decades, with repeated years of going over budget.

“Reducing the number of classes to fit our historical enrollment has made the difference,” said principal Keefer Pollard.

The rallying cry that went out was also heard loud and clear by concerned citizens, both within the school and the community.

“We’ve proved we can do it,” noted Pollard. “That’s the community being supportive.”

Several other fundraising ventures are planned for the remainder of the school year to help keep the school on the right financial track permanently.

“Every school is expected to stay in the black and continue the work of excellence in education,” Pollard said.

In the fall of 2016, the Diocese of Victoria asked St. Joseph’s to balance its budget and develop a plan to pay down the debt or face closure.

“The whole community has rallied to Save Our School,” enthused Pollard.