School’s future concerns director

North Okanagan-Shuswap restructuring has a local politician fearing upheaval

North Okanagan-Shuswap restructuring has a local politician fearing upheaval.

Rene Talbot, Falkland director, says residents were fairly certain Silver Creek Elementary would stay open under the previous board, but that may change under government appointee Mike McKay.

“If you lose your school in a rural community, it kills your area,” said Talbot.

“Families aren’t going to move there just to have their children bused.”

McKay, a former Surrey School District superintendent, was appointed by the provincial government after the elected board was fired.

McKay says he will hold open board meetings, but Talbot questions the process.

“It’s a dictatorship with one person,” he said.

“There’s a concern that they may be looking at school closures and program cuts again.”

McKay recently told the media that decisions to defer school closures and conduct community consultation will remain in place until he has had an opportunity for a full review.

“There will be no surprises. I am committed to an open process.”

Talbot hopes McKay will take time to meet with residents of Falkland and Silver Creek.

“We will have to see what he says,” said Talbot.

The government’s firing of the former board was partially a result of more than $10 million being transferred from operating funds to pay for a new $9 million board office.

“If they are going to fire trustees, they should also look at senior staff. They were involved too,” said Talbot.


Vernon Morning Star