(Updated to uncle comments from Board Chairperson Mature Tarr)
The BC Supreme Court will delay until at least July 6 a decision on a petition to keep Osoyoos Secondary School open brought against the Okanagan Similkameen School District by the Town of Osoyoos and several parents, a move that pleases the Town’s Mayor.
“We think this is probably a better way to deal with it,” said Mayor Sue McKortoff. “You get one thing one day and another thing the next and it could be a conflict of some kind.”
Mayor McKortoff is referring to the busy time that is the final week at Osoyoos Secondary this year.
The Ministry of Education is scheduled to provide a decision to the School District Thursday morning on requested Rural Education Enhancement funding.
The provincial lifeline, announced earlier this month by Premier Christy Clark, is aimed squarely at rural districts contemplating school closings to deal with financial pressures.
Trustees have asked for $387,000 in operating budget savings and $103,000 in “deferred capital expenses.”
The Board has said it will meet Thursday afternoon to determine if the funding is sufficient to reverse a decision to close OSS as of June 30.
“We’d just as soon have the ministry provide the money in the amount that [trustees] want and then we will go from there,” said Mayor McKortoff.
Board chair Marker Tarr wasalso happy with the delay.
“The benefit of the delay is that this allows the board to have discussions on the Rural Education Enhancement Fund on its own merits rather than any association with the court ruling,” she said.
“I feel confident in our position with regards to the process and timeline that the Board engaged in during the school closure process.”
Mayor McKortoff said she did not know why the Court requested the extension, but added lawyers for both the Town and School District were OK with the request.
“Maybe they were busy and they didn’t have time to get it this week,” she said of the Court’s request. “We have no idea.”
Osoyoos Secondary will graduate its Grade 12 students Wednesday evening, meaning it will be at least until the following day before students, parents and teachers will know if the Class of 2016 is the school’s last.