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Large turnout for school closure meeting in Osoyoos

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March 10, 2016 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - A big turnout for a community meeting this week about the proposed school closures in Osoyoos.

About 750 people, who were very passionate about their schools, attended the March 8 meeting at Osoyoos Elementary School, according to Okanagan Similkameen school board chair Marieze Tarr says.

Declining enrolment, excess capacity and reduced funding from the province mean the school board has to make tough decisions and is looking at closing either Osoyoos Elementary or Osoyoos Secondary.

“We heard a lot of feedback about how closing the schools would negatively impact the community and their children,” Tarr says, adding students from Osoyoos Secondary also made an impassioned plea to the board to keep their school open.

Suggestions for cost savings heard during the meeting will be discussed during the school board's budget process.

As part of the board’s presentation at the meeting, the cost of bussing students from Osoyoos to Oliver was discussed, a move that would add an estimated $67,410 to the school district’s operating budget.

Time and scheduling of buses were also looked at. It was noted the longest time any student would spend on a bus would be 39 minutes twice a day, a time that would affect only four students. The average time for a student riding a bus would be 10 minutes for elementary students and 17 minutes for secondary students. There would be a late bus scheduled for 5 p.m.

A decision on the fate of the schools in Osoyoos is expected April 6 at a special school board meeting at Osoyoos Secondary School. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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