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School board gives more students French access in surprise decision

Diana Fort of Summerland argued on Monday School District 67 French immersion policy treated Summerland students unfairly.
May 15, 2013 - 5:16 PM

French immersion will be offered to up to 10 more students after a heated Monday night debate at a School District 67 board meeting.

Summerland parents have argued school board policy gives preferred French program access for students inside the district's catchment area. Summerland lies outside of that zone but these parents still want better access. They said learning a second language has many benefits.

Trustee Bruce Johnson turned it around for them on Monday by tabling a motion to find room for up to 10 Summerland students. This was in stark contrast to what was proposed earlier in the meeting. There was a motion to come back and consider the program sometime between now and the start of the new school year but Johnson wouldn't have it.

Johnson said he's confident board staff can find a solution without impacting the 2013-2014 budget.

"I feel it's time to give these parents peace of mind."

Superintendent Wendy Hyer was against this move. While she would like every student to have access to every program there is not enough money. "With budget restrictions there is only so much we can do."

Trustee Linda Van Alphen was the other voice of opposition. She said her heart goes out to the parents and students. "I'm half on board with what you are saying."

Van Alphen said she cannot however make an arbitrary decision like this. She said the board must allocate resources first before promising parents their children can enter the program.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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