It’s official. The Okanagan Skaha School District will put in applications for new funding for West Bench and Trout Creek Elementary Schools.
School trustees met Friday morning to finalize the decision, just in time to meet today’s application deadline for the Rural Education Enhancement Fund announced by the province last week.
The trustees — with the exception of Barb Sheppard, who was unable to make the special 8 a.m. meeting due to personal commitments — all voted in favour of applying for funding for both schools. In the Okanagan Similkameen School District, trustees gathered last night and voted 5-2 in favour of applying for funding for Osoyoos Secondary School.
Trout Creek Elementary was listed in the original announcement as meeting the criteria for the new funding, but West Bench was not.
“We were happy to see Trout Creek there but we also wanted to add West Bench as well,” said board chair Linda van Alphen. “Ever since the announcement, we have been on the phone with the ministry daily.”
Vice-chair Bill Bidlake said he received assurance from the Ministry of Education that if school districts applied for more than the nine schools listed in the announcement, the $2.7 million dedicated to the fund would be adjusted, rather than each school getting a smaller share.
Van Alphen said that while they are applying for funding for the schools, the board won’t vote on rescinding the closures until another special meeting at 3 p.m. on June 30, which is when they expect to receive confirmation of new funding.