North Okanagan-Shuswap trustee Mike McKay will meet with Enderby residents about education Nov. 26.

North Okanagan-Shuswap trustee tackles school closure concerns

Mike McKay isn’t saying schools will close, but he insists a process is needed for that possibility.

North Okanagan-Shuswap’s lone trustee isn’t saying schools will close, but he insists a process is needed for that possibility.

Mike McKay says he’s developed a framework for potentially shutting down classes.

“I believe there are four criteria against which school closure recommendation should be tested,” he said.

The criteria include a school’s physical condition and the cost of repairs, school enrolment and the ability to provide programs, the district’s overall financial health and community confidence in a school to provide quality education.

“As we look at the current realities around the district, including increasing enrolment and enhanced funding, I believe the responsible course of action is to review the school closure options with fresh eyes,” said McKay.

“Community engagement sessions and the work staff is doing will help us to develop a strategic direction that is appropriate for today and for the future.”

McKay will meet with residents Nov. 26 at Shuswap Middle School in Salmon Arm at 9 a.m. and A.L. Fortune in Enderby at 1 p.m.

Sessions were recently held in Armstrong and Sicamous.

In Armstrong, there were several questions about potential school consolidation and the possibility of program enhancements.

“We have received a number of suggestions from the community about proposals for supporting education in Armstrong and across the district,” said McKay.

“We will continue to evaluate these ideas and other suggestions and create the best educational environment for all students in all schools.”

Sicamous residents are interested in the concept of a single kindergarten to Grade 12 school.

“There were several thoughtful perspectives shared, many of which connected with the K-12 task force report, a document that did a tremendous job in providing good research and background information,” said McKay.

“It is a strong foundational resource that helps us take a renewed look at various options and arrive at a path forward.”