I am a life-long Osoyoos resident, OSS grad, parent and I have many years experience on school committees.
Since the announcement of possible school closures in School District 53 I have worked tirelessly on this matter. I have overwhelming support from our community and many across the province.
In total, we now have 3,851 signatures online and paper petitions asking to keep both schools open and keep kindergarten to grade 12 education in our community. There are many other school boards across B.C. facing school closures, however, we in Osoyoos are currently the only community of approximately 5,000 facing potential school closures. This is very wrong.
I put forward a survey asking, what would you do if OSS closes? Thirty-nine per cent have responded they will either move out of Osoyoos or their child will seek other education outside of school district 53. According to February enrolment reports, of 555 Osoyoos students that would be approximately $2.1 million. Therefor , half of those at 20 per cent actually leave the district that is a further $1 million loss to SD 53. This could leave a huge number of families to be negatively affected.
I put forward two questions for parents: what about a four day school week proposal? I received overwhelming positive response from families and teachers. I also asked about more blended courses at the secondary level and received overwhelming response from parents, the unique concern is for provincial exam course.
We would like these two options investigated completely. OSS is already blending classes with very positive learning outcomes. Our achievement rates and provincial exam results remain at or above the provincial average. OSS achieved higher percentage marks than SOSS in 5/6 course in 2014-2015 exams. This is thanks to the fantastic teachers, administration and support staff in our OSS school family.
You need to remember Osoyoos kids matter. Education in Osoyoos should be a priority for these trustees. Trustees, your job is to do everything and anything in your power to keep Osoyoos schools open. If you fail to do this, then this community of Osoyoos will do everything in our power to keep our kids educated right here at home. Is School District 53 ready to deal with their consequences?
Osoyoos has united, we ask the trustees to unite with us and save our schools.
Chair of Save Our Schools committee