While the decision to close three schools in the Okanagan Skaha School District, including one Summerland school, was made earlier this spring, the province is now asking to re-examine the closures.
On Tuesday, MLA Dan Ashton provided the school district with $266,527 and called for the funding to be used to save Trout Creek Elementary School and West Bench Elementary School.
These closures — especially the closure of Trout Creek — have received strong opposition since they were announced as options several months ago.
Parents of Trout Creek students, members of Summerland’s municipal council and others in the community have called on the school board to reconsider the closure and keep the school open.
School board officials have said the closures were needed in order to trim more than $1 million from the budget.
The shortfall, along with a declining student population, resulted in the decision to close the schools.
At the same time, Ashton said the school district has an operating surplus of $1.9 million.
And Mayor Peter Waterman has said there is growth coming to Trout Creek, with 72 lots being built on at present and another 75 expected to be developed within the next five years.
A further examination of the school closures is in order.
However, revisiting the board’s decision should not be seen as a reversal of the earlier decision to close the three schools.
Any examination of the board’s earlier decisions should be seen as nothing more or less than a closer look into the decisions which were made earlier this spring.
What happens next will depend on the results of this examination.