School District 83 trustees are expected to be discussing the current Long Range Facilities Plan options at the April 20 school board meeting. (File photo)

School District 83 trustees are expected to be discussing the current Long Range Facilities Plan options at the April 20 school board meeting. (File photo)

Letter: Let the people have their say on Salmon Arm school options

Parent encourages School District 83 board to hold off on making a decision

Open letter to School District 83 trustees.

Thank you for the time you take to serve our school district.

Governance can be a largely thankless job, with many hours drawn away from your family and friends. I appreciate your service.

Regarding the Long Range Facilities Plan: As former VP of DPAC, I understand the history of, and need for, the LTFP in our district. I see that options have been narrowed down to two – E4 and E5 – both of which will have serious ramifications in our community. It’s been reported that E5, the two-high school option, is currently favoured by most trustees, and that trustees feel they need to make a decision and move forward so staff can start planning.

Read more: Salmon Arm students oppose two Grade 9-12 campuses, want consultation

Read more: School trustees leaning towards two Grade 9-12 campuses in Salmon Arm

Most alarming and concerning about these reports is that E5 was an option added AFTER community consultation (including visits to schools, civic councils, online survey and email solicitation for feedback) that took place January-March 2020, with the board passing a motion at the May 19, 2020 board meeting to add E5 into the Long Range Facilities Plan Draft.

How can trustees feel certain they have the confidence of the public in making a decision that will likely split the youth of our community into two social classes, when E5 wasn’t an option during the consultation process?

To make a swift decision on a major community decision without authentic and transparent consultation with stakeholders is irresponsible.

To plunge forward with such a decision at a time when we do not know who our superintendent and secretary-treasurer will be come July 2021 is beyond the pale.

I implore the board to delay decision on E4 vs. E5 until there is transparent and wide consultation with the community. The people are never wrong: let them speak.

Jennifer Henrie,

Parent of five children in SD83

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