Education Minister Rob Fleming takes questions in the B.C. legislature. (Hansard TV)

Rural education draft report to be released ‘in coming days’

That comes after weeks of school board concerns and a day of partial ministry commitments

The rural education report will be released in full, after all — at least, a draft of the report.

That comes after Education Minister Rob Fleming received pressure from South Okanagan school districts, along with others across the province, to release the rural education report, commissioned after 2016’s summer of rallies over school closures.

Related: Province releasing results of rural education report ‘shortly’

“The ministry will be posting a number of documents to our website in the coming days as part of our funding model review. Documents to be posted will include a discussion paper on the funding model and the draft rural education report,” the ministry said in a Tuesday evening statement.

That came after Superintendent Wendy Hyer with the Okanagan-Skaha School District (SD67) voiced her concerns about receiving only portions of the report as the ministry saw fit.

Her concerns echoed a school board-approved letter sent earlier that morning to the ministry, joining other school districts across the province, including their neighbours to the south at School District 53, as well as the Town of Osoyoos in their call for the release of the full document.

Related: Penticton candidates spar on school closures

“I guess there’s just concern that they’re going to be using pieces that perhaps are out of context or support a particular decision that they’re making, but nobody knows whether that’s in context or out of context,” she said.

“(Communities) spent a lot of time and energy giving input and feedback around a rural strategy, and they would like to see the strategy and recommendations in full.”

Shortly thereafter, the ministry issued a statement to the Western News suggesting the ministry would be “releasing the results of the consultation and findings of the rural education engagement shortly,” also saying the ministry had already confirmed as much with both media and school board chairs.

Related: School board, MLA want rural education report released

Asked for clarification on whether “results of the consultation and findings” meant releasing the report in full or only in piecemeal instalments, the ministry clarified at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday that they would be releasing a draft of the report.

Fleming also said the government would be using the report to inform its education funding review announced on March 1.

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

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