We have to take some of our media colleagues to task this evening.
It was great so many of them showed up to report on an Okanagan Similkameen School District board meeting and the potential of a school closing in Osoyoos.
But the messaging they’re now distributing is somewhat inaccurate.
Let me set you straight, folks: Osoyoos did not vote to close its high school. Trustees living in other South Okanagan-Similkameen communities did that for us.
Our two trustees — Chair Marieze Tarr and June Harrington, joined by a very courageous Myrna Coates from Keremeos — voted to keep Osoyoos Secondary School open.
Unfortunately, the message delivered by CBC News, Vancouver’s News Talk CKNW and others suggests the Osoyoos community had something to do with making that decision.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
This community was — and remains — galvanized in its effort to keep Osoyoos Secondary open.
While we’re at it, let’s dispel another misconception: Osoyoos students will not be bused to Oliver – not if this community has anything to say about it.
Rather, Osoyoos is already looking to rebrand itself as an “Education Destination.”
That’s a reference to a movement within the community to build an independent school beyond the clutches of the short-sighted SD53 Board and administration.
(To a person, those trustees voting to close Osoyoos Secondary blamed the provincial government for the difficult decision they had to make. But when it came time to vote, they fell into line like the lackeys they are.)
The community’s sense is it can build an educational phoenix that will rise out of the ashes of this evening’s board decision. An independent school — hopefully one that also embraces Kindergarten to Grade 7 students as well — is a serious deliberation for many Osoyoos residents.
If there’s a way to make this bird fly, this community will find it.
“Education Destination” is also a play on the tourism destination moniker Osoyoos proudly bears. Related to that is our community motto: “Canada’s Warmest Welcome.”
This evening, the Okanagan Similkameen board and administration pretty much wore that out.
One other tidbit you may have missed, media friends: SD53 trustees snuck into town long before the special board meeting was advertised to begin. They left as quickly as they came.
There wasn’t even time for angry, pissed-off parents to suggest they not let the door slap them on the ass on the way out.