Okanagan Skaha school district needs can't be based on long term hopes: board chair - InfoNews

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Okanagan Skaha school district needs can't be based on long term hopes: board chair

November 23, 2015 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - The chair of Okanagan Skaha school board would like to believe there will be more students moving into the region to attend classes in the future, but won't gamble away potential opportunities for today’s students based on wishful thinking.

Chair Linda Van Alphen says none of the proposals out for consideration by the board are looking at closing high schools,

"It’s just more reconfiguration. We wouldn’t be boarding up Princess Margaret, it just might become a middle school,” she says regarding a couple of new proposals put forward for consideration earlier this month.

She says the school board would like to believe enrolments will go up in the future, but can’t base present decisions on possibilities.

Alphen says they have to be dealing with the students of today, not thinking new subdivisions in Summerland or Penticton with attract young families. She says most of the building going on in the region, like the development in Sendero Canyon, are priced out of reach for a young family looking for a starter home.

She says the board has to do something now to provide good educational opportunities for students by either closing a school or reconfiguring existing schools, adding those decisions haven't been made yet.

"If we could do that we’ll be able to provide more resources for the students of today.”

Van Alphen says she has spoken to many people who believe there’s going to be more students in the future, but for the next ten years it really doesn’t look like more schools will be necessary.

She says Penticton’s recent joint announcement with the province regarding the construction of 70 new low cost housing units on Brunswick Street two weeks ago will make a difference because they will be affordable for young families.

"So how many children in homes like that? Probably 70 at least.”

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

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