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New VAST lease alters school closure options

A reduced lease rate for VAST may change the dynamic of the school closure discussions in School District 70.

School district officials have re-negotiated the lease for the VAST building, board chair Larry Ransom told more than 100 parents at Gill Elementary School on Wednesday night.

VAST has been a piece in school closure discussions. Officials announced several meetings ago that the district wanted to incur savings by getting out of the facility's $100,000 lease and move the program into Wood Elementary School. This issue was the lease and not the building or location.

The new lease would be under $100,000, secretary treasurer Lindsay Cheetham said after the meeting. The amount would also be a sliding scale depending on the length, which Cheetham said would range from one to five years.

The deal isn't cemented, and trustees have until the end of the month to accept it or not, Cheetham said. Exact numbers won't be revealed because it's an offer, still in the air, and not official yet, he added.

Ransom wouldn't discuss any details of the lease, saying he was abiding by a media blackout by trustees regarding the school closure. He therefore couldn't answer any questions about how this impacts the closure scenario involving closing Wood.

Ransom also mentioned that Eighth Avenue Elementary School was on the closure list. “But we've eliminated that scenario,” he said. Ransom didn't give any details about where students would go, or what was planned for the facility.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

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