by Andrew Stuckey
The Town of Osoyoos is looking to take control of the soon-to-be-vacated Osoyoos Secondary School from the Okanagan Similkameen School District.
Town Council has asked its administration to enter into negotiations with the school district to lease Osoyoos Secondary School.
The motion, one of two by Council related to education in the community, was made by Councillor Jim King at a Special Council meeting held Thursday. It was seconded by Councillor Mike Campol.
The second motion provides instruction on the potential allocation of Town resources to a proposed independent school. It states an agreement in principle between the Independent School Committee and Good Shepherd School must be place.
Council is interested in leasing Osoyoos Secondary for several reasons, said Mayor Sue McKortoff.
The Town of Osoyoos is also suing the School District because of the closure of the local secondary school.
“There’s quite a few issues attached to that. They can’t just lock the doors and walk away from it,” she said of the building’s closing. “There’s the theatre, which really is a community theatre. And they’re required to do something to keep the heat on or have a staff caretaker or something.
“Our motion was to ask them if they would like to lease it. We’d be happy to deal with it that way and perhaps save them a ton of money.”
The building, she added, would be a much better venue than the Sonora Centre for an independent secondary school.
“Are we willing to help to make sure that education in this town continues, well yeah,” Mayor McKortoff said. “I would think that if it were available, it certainly would make more sense to use the present school than it would be to use the Sonora Centre,”
Mayor McKortoff paid compliment to the work done by the ad hoc committee but noted the committee was likely without sufficient authority to secure a lease agreement with the school district.
If successful, the Town’s leasing of Osoyoos Secondary School could solve one of the substantial hurdles an ad hoc independent school committee is facing.
The second motion made by Council Thursday addresses a second: ensuring an independent program in Osoyoos is aligned with an existing chartered school.
The motion, moved by Counc. CJ Rhodes and seconded by Counc. Mike Campol, provides a list of requirements the Town wants to see before it allocates resources to the partnership.
•an outline of the governance structure;
•a description of the educational service to be provided;
•the operational and administration structure;
•clarification if faith-based education is mandatory or optional;
•identification of requirements from the Town of Osoyoos;
•specific facility sites and requirements;
•identification of committed registration numbers; and
•timeframe for implementation.
“We felt that we were being put in an awkward situation to commit when it looked like those two bodies hadn’t committed to doing that yet,” the Mayor explained.