School board followed policy

The Ombudsperson investigating allegations School District 67 Okanagan Skaha did not follow procedure found no wrongdoing.

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The Ombudsperson investigating allegations that School District 67 Okanagan Skaha did not follow procedure on the school closure process, found that the school board were fair and reasonable.

“As we were satisfied that the district followed a fair and reasonable procedure through its school closure process leading to the decision to close WBES (West Bench Elementary School), we concluded that further investigation was not necessary in the circumstances and closed our files,” said the report.

Community members complained to the Office of the Ombudsperson stating that the school closure process had been unfair because the board had inadequate information for considering this option. They also said the public consultation was not sufficient or in accordance with the ministerial order and the board’s school closure policy.

“With respect to the public consultation, overall the district and the board appeared to have followed a reasonable procedure through its school closure process leading to the decision to close WBES,” it was written in the report.

The Ombudsperson found there was public consultation at a number of forums for people to obtain information about the proposal, make submissions for the board’s and the district’s consideration and to have their questions answered. The report also states the board provided the public with adequate information about the relevant factors for considering the closure of WBES and its decision-making criteria.

“Given this, we concluded that the public received reasonable disclosure of the relevant information to have allowed the public to develop and present their position.”