Trout Creek Elementary is now on the list of school closures being considered by the Okanagan Skaha School District.
On Jan. 5, the board of education met in a closed meeting to add the Trout Creek option to their list. Superintendent Wendy Hyer explained that the new option would see Giant’s Head Elementary, which is also being considered for closure, remain open, though it would become a primary school, with Kindergarten to Grade 3.
Summerland Middle School would host Grades 4 to 7, and Summerland Secondary would take Grades 8 to 12.
“This came out of the consultation process prior to Christmas. The board addressed it as soon as it could,” said Hyer, explaining that the idea arose out of parent concerns over the loss of exploratory blocks for Grades 6 and 7.
“Really, it was looking at how do you continue to operate the educational programs that people seem to value,” said Hyer.
Trout Creek currently has 182 students, projected to decline to 168 by 2018. Giant’s Head has a total of 366 students enrolled, projected to increase to 391 by 2018.
The savings from closing Trout Creek Elementary are estimated at $423,882, and the assessed value of the land and buildings is $4.14 million. After closure the land and building could be leased or sold, which would both increase savings by not having to do maintenance, and generate additional revenue.
In comparison, closing Giant’s Head Elementary was expected to save the school district $510,862, and the assessed value of that property is $5.69 million.
To allow time for feedback on the new option, the school district has extended the deadline for feedback on all options from Jan. 10 to Jan. 15. They will also be holding a public consultation meeting at Trout Creek Elementary on Jan. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Decision day remains January 20, 2016 at an open meeting of the Board of Education scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the IMC building located behind the school board office at 425 Jermyn Ave.
Details of all the options are available on the school district website at www.sd67.bc.ca.