Obviously there is considerable anxiety in Armstrong, Enderby, Grindrod and Spallumcheen over the future of education.
The prospect of school closures can negatively impact the viability of communities while putting Grade 6 students into a facility with Grade 12 students is less than ideal.
But the reality is the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District has to do something given the projected shortfall of $3.6 million over the next three years. Millions of dollars have been trimmed in recent years and the district is now cutting into the bone.
There has been considerable debate among district administration and parents at town hall meetings, including one in Enderby Thursday. But what’s been missing is the involvement of the local MLA.
Greg Kyllo is the Shuswap’s voice in Victoria and he should be taking an active role in this process that will directly impact his constituents.
Now, provincial officials are famous for saying that they just provide funding to school districts and it’s districts that decide how it is spent. But that’s only partially true as it is the province that inks contracts with unionized staff, which influences the bottom line. Government fees, such as MSP, are also climbing as are B.C. Hydro rates. The government is nickel and diming school districts to death.
Yes enrolment is down in some schools, but other facilities are at capacity and closing schools will leave the district unable to address any long-term growth.
It is time for Kyllo as the MLA for Enderby and Armstrong to enter the discussion and help find a solution.