On the eve of a contentious budget vote for the Vancouver School Board, another B.C. School District has made a controversial decision.
By a vote of 4-3, Okanagan Similkameen School Trustees have voted to close Osoyoos’ only high school.
“It was very volatile, all the people in there,” says Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff, adding she’s “horrified” by the decision.
“To close down the only high school and not have 8-12 education offered here? Is a travesty.”
She says the decision to close Osoyoos Secondary School is particularly upsetting because the city made a hefty cash offer to help float the district’s budget shortfall, if it would save the school.
“Could we come up with a million dollars? So I said to them tonight, guess what? You asked us to do that, we’ve done it, here it is, no strings attached, and they said they couldn’t accept it.”
McKortoff says the province has put up more money for education this year, but…
“From all appearances it seems to go to a lot of seismic upgrades, which I agree, is essential, but it seems to be down at the coast more than anywhere else.”
She says the town has already talked to lawyers and may bring an injunction against the district. It’s also weighing an independent school.
As it stands, tonight vote means O.S.S. will close at the end of June, with its 230 students bussed to neighbouring Oliver.
Meanwhile, the cash-strapped Vancouver School Board will vote tomorrow on a budget that could see $24 million in cuts to programs and teaching positions.