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Funding not enough to keep Osoyoos Secondary open: trustee

FILE PHOTO- A protest involving a cross section of the Osoyoos community in front of the secondary school on March 28. School Trustee Sam Hancheroff feels today's funding announcement for School District 53 won't be enough to keep the High School open.
May 31, 2016 - 3:15 PM

OSOYOOS - It’s too soon to say for certain what impact today’s provincial school funding announcement will have on school closures in the Okanagan Similkameen School District.

But prior to a board meeting later this afternoon, May 31, School District 53 Board Vice-Chair Sam Hancheroff is hedging his bets it will not result in the district keeping Osoyoos Secondary School open.

Earlier today the province announced the school district will receive $118,102 in funding from administrative savings and called on the school district to use the funds to keep Osoyoos Secondary School open. While the announcement is welcome Hancheroff feels the money is not enough to solve the district’s financial shortfalls.

“They’re giving back administrative savings we’ve sent to them. Our board is meeting at 4:30, in camera, this afternoon to discuss the announcement,” he says. “I don’t know what’s going to happen as far as the school in Osoyoos goes, because I don’t feel $118,000 is going to solve the problem. I don’t know, maybe there is something else that is going to be happening.” 

Hancheroff feels it’s a provincial ploy, adding many school districts called upon the province to give the money back. He says the district’s surplus money has been used up in the past few years to balance the budget.

“That’s why we’ve had to look at closing schools, because we just don’t have the cash,” he says.

Hancheroff says he expects school boards to be meeting to discuss the announcement today, but as far as he is concerned, today’s announcement is about the government giving back $118,000 the district has already given to the province.

“This money is coming back just for this year, and they’re giving it back without interest. Is it going to solve the problem? I don’t think so, because enrolment continues to drop everywhere — I honestly don’t see that happening,” he says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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