Suppose you threw a meeting and everybody came.
That’s the prospect facing the South Okanagan-Similkameen School District February 9 as board members hold public consultations in Osoyoos regarding the potential closure of one of the community’s schools.
The community learned in mid-January it may bear the brunt of budget cutbacks when senior staff recommended at a regular board meeting January 13 that either the town’s secondary school or its elementary school be shuttered.
Trustees voted to accept the recommendations and move forward with public consultations around two scenarios:
- Close Osoyoos Secondary School (OSS) and transfer its grade-eight-to-12 students to South Okanagan Secondary (SOSS) in Oliver; or
- Close Osoyoos Elementary, re-invent OSS as a kindergarten-to-grade-nine school and move the grade 10-12 students to SOSS.
That consultation process now appears to have captured the imagination of Osoyoos residents. If anecdotal evidence is to be believed, the number of people attending the scheduled 7 p.m. meeting at Osoyoos Secondary School may eclipse the maximum permissible occupancy load of 790.
“We picked the largest venue we have available,” said Superintendent of Schools Bev Young, adding the District hopes to accommodate all interested Osoyoos parents, students and residents wishing to attend the meeting.
“If a few people have to stand in the wings, we won’t turn them away.”
If Brenda Dorosz, who has organized a local Save Our Schools campaign, has her way, it will be more than a few people standing in the wings.
She put out a Facebook plea “to have 3000+ community members attend.”
Ms. Young wouldn’t speculate on what the School District would do if maximum occupancy became as issue. She did, however, indicate the school district is scheduling two additional consultation periods, the first at 7 p.m. March 8 at Osoyoos Elementary School and the second April 6, also at 7 p.m. at Osoyoos Secondary School.
Information to be delivered at the February 9 meeting will also be made available online February 4 and distributed through local media and to others on the district’s electronic mailing list, Ms. Young said.