Lora Nield

Trout Creek parents hope for change of decision

Emotions ran high as parents of Trout Creek students and others in the community met to discuss a response to the closure decision.

Emotions ran high as parents of Trout Creek Elementary School students and others in the community met on Wednesday to discuss a response to the school closure decision.

An estimated 170 people attended the meeting, which was held at Summerland Baptist Church.

Earlier this month, Okanagan Skaha School Board trustees voted to close three schools, including Trout Creek.

The adoption is scheduled for a board meeting on March 30.

The elementary school has a capacity of 277 students but its enrolment at present is 182 students.

The closure will have far-reaching effects in Summerland as the grade structure at the remaining three schools would change.

Under the closure model, Summerland students from Kindergarten to Grade 3 would attend Giant’s Head Elementary School, students in Grades 4 to 7 would attend Summerland Middle School and students in Grades 8 to 12 would attend Summerland Secondary School.

Sharon Mansiere, one of the moderators at the meeting, urged a respectful tone.

“We have the potential to pull together as a community or to pull apart,” she said.

She added that the school district’s financial constraints mean any budget and facilities decision will have far-reaching effects.

“If this closure doesn’t happen, what is going to be cut?” she asked.

According to school district statistics, closing Trout Creek Elementary School is expected to save $423,882.

School district officials have said the budget must be trimmed by approximately $1.025 million this year, with further reductions of at least $750,000 every year after that.

Those in the audience said the closure is a mistake and a short-sighted decision.

Jane Compardo said there are 74 new building lots in Trout Creek, including 56 on the market at present.

She added that the real estate agents are specifically targeting young families with these lots.

“There are definitely young families buying in our area,” she said. “There is significant interest. I am seeing growth in this region.”

Mayor Peter Waterman said Summerland is experiencing growth. In 2015, 42 building permits were issued for residential units. This represents a population growth of slightly less than one per cent..

New Democrat MLA Jodie Wickens, the party’s deputy education spokesperson, attended the meeting.

“She said 240 schools across B.C. have been closed over the past 10 years as boards have had to deal with budget constraints.

“Our children are not an accounting exercise,” she said.

Coun. Doug Holmes said the closure decision is a disappointing blow for the community.

“Summerland is short-changed all the time,” he said.

Christy Tiessen, a parent who has spoken out against the Trout Creek closure and the earlier suggestion to close Giant’s Head Elementary School, said any closure decision should be made slowly.

“Closing Trout Creek is not necessary this year,” she said.

Organizers are planning a rally at the school district office in Penticton on Tuesday, March 29 at 3 p.m.

In addition, some of the organizers will make a presentation at the board meeting on Wednesday, March 30, before the final reading of the school closure bylaw is considered.

 

Just Posted

Photos: Saddle broncs and bullriders raise the dust in Similkameen

The 54th annual Chopaka Easter Jackpot Rodeo took place near Keremeos Sunday

Stolen generator from Penticton restaurant recovered

New business owner Nik Dos Santos said it’s a reminder to be vigilant, cautious

Rising country stars to perform at Penticton Peach Festival

Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion opens for Emerson Drive on PeachFest country night

Sunshine Foundation DreamLift trip won’t take off from Kelowna, fundraiser cancelled

Papa John’s ‘Dreams for Kids Day’ fundraiser to be rebranded

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sunny Wednesday ahead

Environment Canada is forecasting some great spring weather

VIDEO: Okanagan fire victim Amy Hansen speaks out on the loss of her four pets

A gofundme page has been started for Hansen, with $1,140 raised of a $5000 goal to help her rebuild

Many teens don’t know they’revaping nicotine, Health Canada finds

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey finds youth unaware of nicotine product risk

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Kelowna man faces 4 year sentence after creating pimp operation on dating site

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

SPCA investigating hen cull at Shuswap egg farm

Egg farm regulator says they are confident cull at was done properly

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man charged with daughters’ murders

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Most Read