school closure

West Bench Recreation: Summer Sampler

Hi West Bench! I am a Recreation Coordinator with the RDOS and I am working on putting some recreation programming together for your community. Next month, we will be offering a "Summer Sampler" series that will be absolutely FREE at Mariposa Park . Please check out the attached image for more information.

Message from the West Bench Elementary Parents Advisory Committee (PAC)

Dear West Bench Community,

We have an important opportunity to let the BC gov’t know why our community school is important, and why it deserves long-term stable funding.

By the Jan. 9th deadline, the provincial gov’t has invited all community members to contribute their thoughts on the importance of our school to children and as a community asset. The responses go directly to a task force currently designing a new funding model for schools such as ours.

Please visit: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/ruraleducation/ to participate in the survey called “A Conversation about Rural Education”.

The survey contains 4 questions.

Does the West Bench Elementary Subsidy Proposal lead to Two Tiers?

School District 53 “flatly rejected" a proposal from the Town of Osoyoos to help subsidize Osoyoos Secondary School.  The Osoyoos proposal was similar to the West Bench proposal in that local government offered to use local tax dollars to keep a school open.  SD53 provided the following rationale in its letter to Mayor Sue McKortoff rejecting the town’s offer,

The proposal you have made is not consistent with the spirit and intent of the School Act funding provisions which are aimed at providing equal access to educational programs for all […] Students in communities with the ability and willingness to contribute monies in addition to assessed school taxes would gain significant advantages over students in communities which could not provide these funds.

The economic case for a West Bench Elementary subsidy

It sounds like the Board of Education will seriously consider the RDOS proposal for a local subsidy for West Bench Elementary.  The next question is: Will West Bench residents seriously consider it?  I have heard several residents say that they have absolutely no interest in paying a new tax.  I am certainly sympathetic to this view.  After all, my own kids are past the elementary age and the fate of the school is no longer my problem.  But I think this view misrepresents our true situation.  Our choice is not between business as usual and a new tax.  Rather, our choice is between one significant cost and another.  On March 30, 2016—the day the Board of Education voted to close West Bench Elementary—every house in the West Bench Elementary catchment lost

WBE Closure: Request for reconsideration

As noted in my update to the grant proposal, I was caught off-guard by the Board of Education's dismissal of the RDOS offer.  I assumed this was going to proceed in a very straightforward way:

  1. A rural school will not be considered for closure if it has a ~$150K grant
  2. The RDOS can raise such a grant for West Bench Elementary
  3. West Bench Elementary will not be considered for closure

 

West Bench Elementary School subsidy proposal

Update 30-31 March 2016:

I missed the SD67 meeting tonight because I help coach my daughters' volleyball on Wednesday nights.  All I know is that SD67 decided to close West Bench Elementary despite the subsidization proposal below (story in The Herald). Thanks to those who filled me in on the details at the meeting.

I have requested reconsideration as outlined in the follow-on post.


 

Parents oppose school closure plan in Trout Creek

Parents and residents spoke out on Tuesday evening in opposition to the possible closure of Trout Creek School.

The option, presented earlier this month, calls for the closure of Trout Creek School and the reconfiguration of other Summerland schools.

Under the proposal, students from Kindergarten to Grade 3 would attend Giant’s Head School, students in Grades 4 to 7 would attend Summerland Middle School and students in Grades 8 to 12 would attend Summerland Secondary School.

Development potential on the greater West Bench

I sent the following to the Board of Education Trustee for rural Penticton, Ginny Manning.  The email is a follow-on to my previous comments on this issue:

Subject: Re: West Bench school closure and growth
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2016 23:01:02 -0800
From: Michael Brydon 
To: Ginny Manning
CC: Bill Newell, Andrew Jakubeit

Hi Ginny,

Student makes plea for West Bench

A West Bench Elementary student made a passionate plea to School District 67 trustees on Tuesday.

“West Bench is the best school ever. Please don’t close it,” said Jack MacIntosh, who’s attending his final year at the school, at a community meeting where the trustees are listening to public opinion on school closures in the face of declining enrolment.

West Bench parents want their school taken off list of facilities being considered for closure

Noting the potential for serious health and cultural impacts, parents of West Bench Elementary students are asking their community’s school be removed from the list of those identified for possible closure.

“Our whole community is dependent on that school. It’s how we stay connected, it’s how our friends know their neighbours, and we think that’s pretty important,” said Riley Gettens on behalf of the West Bench Parent Advisory Council.

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