Is $118,000 enough to keep Osoyoos Secondary open?
Yesterday, MLA Linda Larson said it was, strongly encouraging the Okanagan Similkameen School District to use its share of administrative savings delivered by the provincial government to keep Osoyoos students in Osoyoos.
In early May, responding to questions from Opposition Leader John Horgan about a $150,000 grant to a First Nations school on Haida Gwaii, Premier Christy Clark told the BC Legislature a similar grant would not be enough to keep Osoyoos Secondary School open.
To quote the Premier on May 11:
“Well, if the member thinks $150,000 is going to solve the issue that the folks in Osoyoos are facing, he’s badly mistaken.”
Mr. Horgan had prefaced the exchange with a contrast of the premier’s visit to Haida Gwaii and the resulting grant and a reluctance on the part of her MLAs to visit schools in their own riding.
“I’m having a little bit of difficulty, and I suspect that those at home — and certainly those in the South Okanagan who are facing school closures — are having difficulty understanding how it is that their appeals for their member of the Legislature to show up and be answerable for decisions that are happening goes on to deaf ears,” he said.
“Yet a random visit by a chief from Old Massett not only elicited a visit from the Premier but a cheque in hand, when there was no process, there was no oversight, there was no review. I find that hard to get my head around.”
To be fair, the Boundary-Similkameen MLA did show up in Osoyoos yesterday and she did suggest the Town of Osoyoos would have to piggyback on the administrative savings by finding revenue opportunities of its own.
But Ms Larson also said the provincial government was not in the business of delivering “one-off solutions” to solve local school problems.
“The government is not going to come out and do a one-off on one school only when there are pressures like this that face schools all over the province,” Ms Larson said.
That, apparently, is a second contradiction — the premier did exactly that on Haidi Gwaii.