Summerland school closure decision frustrates parents

Parents of students in Trout Creek Elementary School are stunned, upset and disappointed with the decision to close the elementary school.

Parents of students in Trout Creek Elementary School are stunned, upset and disappointed with the decision to close the elementary school.

“The general feeling among parents is disbelief more than anything,” said Mike Pleasance, a parent of a child at the school.

“The model of education in Summerland is being compromised in order to keep the status quo in Penticton.”

As a result of the closure, Giant’s Head Elementary School will be converted into a Kindergarten to Grade 3 school, Summerland Middle School will house students in Grades 4 to 7 and Summerland Secondary School will accommodate students from Grade 8 to Grade 12.

This is a departure from Grade 6 to 8 middle school model which has been in place in the past.

Angela Scholefield, who has two children at  Trout Creek Elementary School, said the board should have proceeded more slowly.

“I don’t believe the school board has taken enough time to consider all the options carefully,” she said. “I’m sure they could have come up with a better solution to save the majority of the schools.”

She said the school is one of the top-ranked schools in the Fraser Institute’s annual school rankings.

She and others will write to the provincial ombudsperson to ask for a review of the school board’s decision.

Tina Martin, who has spoken out against the proposals to close Giant’s Head Elementary School and Trout Creek Elementary School, said the trustees had a tough decision.

“They were in a really difficult position, which I can appreciate,” she said. She said education funding should be an issue in the next provincial election next year.