The effects of uncertainty

When the school year comes to an end, Trout Creek Elementary School will say goodbye to its students for the last time. Or will it?

In a few weeks, when the school year comes to an end, Trout Creek Elementary School will say goodbye to its students for the last time.

Or will it?

Although the decision has been made, there are some questions about whether it could be reversed, even at this late stage.

While the Okanagan Skaha School Board has made its decision to close three schools, there is still some question about the future of education in Summerland and the rest of the school district.

A little more than a week ago, MLA Dan Ashton suggested the school board bring in a special advisor to review the closure process. The cost of this advisor would be paid by the province and not the school district.

The school district is already participating in a review, conducted by the Office of the Ombudsperson.

Questions have also been raised about the decision because of the school district’s $1.9 million operational surplus. This surplus would more than cover the estimated cost savings of $1,187,606 gained from the school closures.

However, members of the school board say the surplus funds have conditions attached and cannot be used for general operating expenses.

As long as the Ombudsperson’s examination is continuing, and as long as the possibility of a special advisor’s review remains, the result will be uncertainty about the future of Trout Creek Elementary School and the other schools slated for closure.

This level of uncertainty is not good for any of those affected, whether parents, students, teachers and staff or others in the community.

A clear decision, whatever it may be, is of more value than waiting to find out if the school closures will be reversed some time between now and the start of the next school year.