A long and bitter fight over the future of Osoyoos’ only high school has ended, for now, with victory for the town’s parents.
The move comes at the hands of a $490,000 cash injection from the province’s new Rural Education Fund.
Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff says it was enough for trustees to vote in favour of keeping the school open.
“They had made a decision back in April to close the school and with the funding announcement the Osoyoos Secondary School will open in September as usual.”
McKortoff says Victoria initially doled out about $387,000 from the fund… plus a little extra.
“Plus they asked for $103,000 for repairs and upkeep that hadn’t been done so the province gave them gave them that as well.”
But the school’s future is still up in the air.
“Basically its guaranteed for two years.”
She says the school will need to submit a new application for rural finding each year.
The divisive battle for OSS left many parents and trustees angry and frustrated.
The Okanagan Similkameen school board voted 4-3 to close the school, a decision that would have meant Osoyoos students would be bused to neighbouring Oliver for classes.
That was after the town offered up $1-million to keep the school open.
That decision kicked off a court challenge by the city, along with considerations around opening an independent school, but McKortoff says that’s now on the backburner.
Osoyoos wasn’t the only one facing pressure to close schools due to funding and enrollment pressures. Several districts on Vancouver Island and in the interior are under the gun, and both Richmond and Vancouver are looking at closing more than a dozen schools.