This photograph from the 1930s shows Central School in Summerland. The school later became Summerland Secondary School. The picture is at the intersection of what s now Rosedale Avenue to the right and the Jubilee Avenue. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum.)

Summerland’s education system has changed over the years

South Okanagan community was first in B.C. to have a central school system

Summerland’s education system has gone through many changes over the years.

This photograph, taken in the 1930s, shows Central School. The school later became Summerland Secondary School.

The picture is at the intersection of what s now Rosedale Avenue to the right and the Jubilee Avenue.

Education in Summerland dates back to the formation of the community.

In February of 1903 a meeting was held to discuss the development of a school district for Summerland. Trustees elected to the board included J.M Robinson as chair, J.R. Brown as secretary and H.C. Atkinson as treasurer.

Summerland became the first school district in B.C. to have a central school system.

READ ALSO: A century ago, Summerland had numerous small schools

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In the early years, children attended a small school in Lowertown Summerland.

In addition the Summerland Supply Company store was used as a school for Grade 6 and 7 students.

Principal J.C. Robson later tried to persuade the government that the community needed a high school. A two-room school was constructed in 1909.

Two years later an elementary school was built which temporarily closed outlying schools.

In 1922 an eight room school was constructed for Grades 1 to 8. High school was taught in a four room school until the present Summerland Secondary School was built in 1951.

In 1948 the eight room elementary school formerly known as Summerland Elementary, was expanded to 12 rooms and renamed MacDonald School in 1951. The new name recognized long time principal S.A. MacDonald. The school operated on Rosedale Avenue until 1999, when it was demolished.

In 1996, the provincial government took measures to amalgamate 34 of the 75 school districts in the province. The change meant Summerland joined with Penticton to form Okanagan Skaha School District 67.

The amalgamation concept was not well received in Summerland. The board had asked that the school district remain independent. Later, trustees asked that the school district be merged with smaller communities in the region instead of with Penticton.

The amalgamation of the Penticton and Summerland school districts resulted in the formation of the Okanagan Skaha School District.

The new school board took over on Dec. 2, 1996.

At the last meeting of the Summerland school board, the trustees voted to distribute $329,250 of the board’s $450,000 surplus to projects and upgrades for Summerland’s schools.

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