Armstrong backs school district plan

A possible reduction of school trustees representing the North Okanagan Shuswap school district has the City of Armstrong’s blessing.

The school district has started a review of possibly reducing the trustees from nine to seven as a cost-saving measure.

“Some trustees only have one school in their region,” said Coun. Paul Britton, a counsellor at Armstrong’s Pleasant Valley Secondary School.

“I think it’s a good, well-thought out move to reduce the trustees.”

Armstrong and Spallumcheen currently have representation on the school district board with two trustees: Bob Fowler and Laurie Myers. The pair have five schools in their region, all in Armstrong: PVSS, Len Wood Middle School, Highland Park and Armstrong Elementary schools, and the Gateway Continuing Education Centre.

The school district has been experiencing a decline in enrolment for a number of years.

Due to the decrease in the number of students, the district has had to close four schools in the past few years. Enrolment projections indicate the decline will continue.

“It’s a good move to look at it and bring it up for discussion,” said Coun. Shirley Fowler.

If reduced to seven trustees, the school district would also revise the electoral areas. That would include combining Armstrong/Spallumcheen with Electoral Area 6 Falkland/Deep Creek/Ranchero, and two trustees would be elected to cover that region.

Armstrong council voted unanimously to support a reduction of trustees from nine to seven, and agreed to let the school board set reconfigured boundaries.

Coun. Ryan Nitchie was absent from the meeting.

The City of Enderby and the Regional District of North Okanagan board have spoken against the proposed reduction.

Salmon Arm council discussed the review and proposed changes at its latest regular meeting but made no formal resolution.

A special school board meeting on the matter will be held in Salmon Arm June 23.


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