Naramata school seeking students
Naramata’s shrinking school community is optimistic a massive residential development proposed nearby in Penticton could send more students its way, but is also appealing for more immediate help.
It’s early in the approval process, but developers have unveiled a plan to add up to 1,000 new residential units in the Spiller Road area near the Campbell Mountain Landfill.
A concept plan presented in February to Penticton city council stated kids who live in the development could be accommodated at nearby Uplands Elementary School, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
The facility was at 88 per cent of capacity with 236 students as of Jan. 31, prompting the Okanagan Skaha School District to ask the city that land be set aside for a school within the new development area.
“These are long-term projects, so we make a request today but we may not see a school for many years in the future,” the district’s facilities manager, Doug Gorcak, said this week.
The parent advisory council for Naramata Elementary School hopes it can rebuild its student body by capturing some of those new residents, and also by attracting others from Penticton. As of Jan. 31, the school was at 41 per cent of capacity with just 64 students.
At its meeting Monday, the school board is expected to discuss a letter from the PAC asking that its catchment area be expanded.
PAC president Deb Linton said the group is trying to raise awareness that Naramata is an option for parents outside the community.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of families that would see the benefit of sending their kids to a smaller, more personal school environment,” she said.
Linton said she found it “interesting” the school board had requested land for a school in the Spiller Road area, but said the development wouldn’t address Naramata’s short-term need for students.
“It could be 10 years before that development goes ahead, if it goes ahead,” she said. “Regardless of that, we would like (trustees) to consider a catchment area change.”