YEAR IN REVIEW: A tumultuous year for the region's school districts - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Light Snow

YEAR IN REVIEW: A tumultuous year for the region's school districts

Armstrong Elementary School was one of several slated for closure in school districts across the region in 2016, as trustees struggled to find ways to deal with declining enrolments and budget cuts.
Image Credit: Charlotte Helston
December 30, 2016 - 10:30 AM

Overstretched budgets and funding cuts took their toll on the region’s school boards this year.

The North Okanagan Shuswap Board of Education discussed closure of two schools, Silver Creek Elementary and Pleasant Valley Secondary Schools, resulting in widespread community opposition, especially over the proposed closure of Armstrong Elementary School. The school board voted in March to prolong the public consultation process for another year, allowing the two schools to remain open with the school closures officially taken off the table in December.

The school district also dealt with the firing of the entire school board on June 15 after the board came under intense scrutiny for transferring $10. 5 million in surpluses from the operating budget into the capital budget in order to build a new administration office.

Okanagan Skaha and Okanagan Similkameen School Districts, in the Okanagan Valley’s southern regions, faced a similar dilemma as the Okanagan Skaha School Board looked at shutting down three schools in Penticton and one in Summerland, and the Okanagan Similkameen School District pondered the possibility of closing two schools in their district.

As in the north, both school districts faced community opposition from parents, students and even local politicians, with the Town of Osoyoos initiating a lawsuit over the Okanagan Similkameen school board’s intention to shut down Osoyoos Secondary School.

The issues were finally resolved in late June when the province established the Rural Education Enhancement Funds program, providing additional funding necessary to keep open West Bench and Trout Creek Schools in Okanagan Skaha, and Osoyoos Secondary School in Okanagan Similkameen.

The Kamloops School District dealt with funding shortfalls through teaching and administrative staff cuts as they looked for a way to pare $3.4 million from their operating budget.

Kamloops also began dealing with the problem of aging schools as discussions with the province took place over replacement of South Kamloops Secondary School at an estimated cost of $50 million. The district also began to look at replacing other schools, reporting 50 per cent of the district’s schools were 50 or more years old.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
  • Police search for missing Kelowna woman
    KELOWNA - Kelowna RCMP are asking for the public's help in finding a missing 27-year-old woman. RCMP say Joenna Saunders was last heard from on Nov. 27. She was reported missing on Dec.
  • Girl opens Christmas present she gave to boy when she dumped him in 1971
    ST. ALBERT, Alta. - A man in Edmonton who made international headlines for holding onto a wrapped Christmas gift from a high-school girlfriend who dumped him nearly 50 years ago finally learned wh
  • Water quality advisory in effect in North Okanagan
    NORTH OKANAGAN - The district has issued a water quality advisory for the North Okanagan. The Regional District of North Okanagan Silver Star Water Utility in conjunction with Interior Healt
  • Kamloops Fire Rescue respond to McDonalds deep fryer fire
    KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops McDonalds was temporarily closed last night due to a small deep fryer fire. Kamloops Fire Rescue arrived at the McDonalds location in Sahali at about 11:30 p.m. last ni
  • Vernon fast food restaurant held up by man with syringe
    VERNON - RCMP are on the hunt for a suspect after a robbery at a Vernon restaurant earlier this week. A man threatened staff with an allegedly contaminated needle on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Wr
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile