OSOYOOS - The community came together today to protest against the possible closure of Osoyoos Secondary School, with business owners, residents and students making their feelings known to the School District 53 board of trustees.
A decision regarding the fate of Osoyoos Elementary and Osoyoos Secondary School is expected to be made at a public meeting at Osoyoos Secondary School on April 6.
Roughly 500 protesters converged on the road in front of Osoyoos Secondary School around 11:15 a.m today, March 29. A number of cement trucks from two Osoyoos cement companies lined the roadway leading to the school parking lot, while various other contractors and farm tractors from the Osoyoos area lined 115th Street in front of the school, effectively shutting it down to vehicle traffic.
"Save our schools," the group chanted as they waved placards and formed a human chain around the vehicles in front of the school.
Students leaving the school on lunch break joined the many residents and business owners already in the protest. Some of the business owners closed their downtown shops in order to join the protest.
“It’s amazing for business to take the time off they have. It just goes to show what a huge issue this is — it has economic and social implications. It’s going to affect every walk of life in the Town of Osoyoos,” Osoyoos Coun. Carol Youngberg says while standing among the protesters with Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff.
Youngberg says 25 businesses closed their doors in support of the protest Tuesday morning.
“They know this decision is going to affect the economy,” she says.
Youngberg says a local realtor has a sale pending on a residence in Osoyoos which involves a young family. They have said they may have to look at another community, depending on the school board’s decision on April 6.
Harold Cox, a retired educator living in Osoyoos says he feels the board could rearrange classes to minimize busing while keeping the school open, noting Osoyoos Elementary is also on the chopping block still.
“The board has two motions that need to be rescinded, regarding their closure options,” he says.
McKortoff believes the protest will have caught the board's attention,
“So much has been written about the proposed closure, it’s been in the media in the Lower Mainland. I think they’ll have to look at some kind of compromise,” she says.
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