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Countdown to possible Shuswap school closure continues

April 16, 2015 - 2:32 PM

NORTH OKANAGAN - The North Okanagan-Shuswap School Board has begun a process that would allow them to shut down Silver Creek Elementary School, but officials insist it is only a procedural move and not a final decision at this point.

“This is just a process so we don’t get hung up,” trustee Debbie Evans said in a media release following Tuesday’s board meeting.

Because of the tight time frame on the possible school closure, proposed to go into effect in the coming school year, the board had to start the process now in order to meet its deadlines. Closing a school must be done with a bylaw, and the board needs to give that bylaw three readings before it can be implemented. The first reading was given at the April 14 board meeting. Even though the board hasn’t made a decision on the school closure yet, if they didn’t start the bylaw process now, they ran the risk of running out of time for contractual obligations.

Evans said people should have been notified about the board’s intentions at a recent public consultation meeting so they would at least be forewarned about what was going on. 

The last of five scheduled input sessions at affected schools wrapped up April 9 with a meeting at Silver Creek Elementary. Trustee Chris Coers said she really appreciated the time and energy the community put into proposing solutions for keeping the school alive. One of the ways the Parent Advisory Committee has suggested attracting more kids to the 36 student school is to introduce a Montessori program. 

“We have 30 more days of consultation and lots of questions. We are trying to make the best of the worst of the choices. Keep the information coming, we truly appreciate the perspectives and points of view,” Coers said.

She added the truth of matter is the district has less kids and can’t support the infrastructure currently in place.

“We can’t do nothing. We have to do something,” she said.

There are no more formal public consultation sessions scheduled, but parents and community members are encouraged to email input by April 21 to bmarchuk@sd83.bc.ca, or phone the district at 250-832-2157. Input can also be mailed to the district at: Box 129, 220 Shuswap St. N.E., Salmon Arm, B.C., V1E 4N2. 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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