March 08, 2016 - 8:17 PM
SALMON ARM - Elementary schools in Armstrong and Salmon Arm will stay open for at least another year.
The School District 83 board of education voted tonight, March 8, to prolong the public consultation period to a deadline of April 2017, instead of 2016.
Board chair Bobbi Johnson said a huge amount of information and feedback has come in from the public since trustees initiated the 60-day process to close Armstrong Elementary School and Silver Creek Elementary for September 2016.
Johnson noted she felt some hesitation at prolonging the process, but said the board does not want to rush into a decision without getting all the information.
A crowd of more than 60 North Okanagan parents and community members packed the boardroom, leaving standing room only. Many wore matching black t-shirts that read: Armstrong schools are the heart of our community.
In addition to bumping the public consultation deadline back a year, the board also initiated task forces to look at demographic information, school configuration, and catchment areas in Armstrong and Salmon Arm.
Speaking on behalf of parents and the community at large prior to hearing the board’s decision to put the decision off for a year, Kate Stein asked trustees to think long and hard about closing down Armstrong Elementary School, affectionately known as the Brick School.
“Students are entitled to a level of education based on thriving, not just surviving,” Stein said.
The group brought a petition with some 3,100 names on it urging the board to keep Armstrong Elementary open, and Len Wood operating as a middle school.
The group asked trustees to consider four main ideas to help alleviate financial pressure without closing schools: 1) offering French immersion; 2) introducing a Montessori program; 3) implementing a four day school week and 4) promoting international students.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016