When I first heard that SD67 was again considering school closures, there were several people who I immediately contacted including our MLA, Dan Ashton. Immediately Dan committed to supporting and fighting for Greater West Bench in any way that he could. I asked Dan to see how West Bench Elementary could be designated a rural school like Naramata and Kaleden.
Today, Mr. Ashton had an opportunity to address the Minister of Education, Hon. R Fleming, during the Committee of Supply. Mr. Ashton explained that West Bench Elementary is a small school within a Regional District that serves not only the residents of Greater West Bench but also their neighbours, the Penticton Indian Band. Mr. Ashton requested that the Minister work with SD67 to designate West Bench Elementary as a rural school.
The Minister responded that rural and remote school funding has increased 18% and the funding is intended to help districts recognize unique schools. I think we all agree that West Bench Elementary qualifies as a pretty unique school.
I have great faith in the new Superintendent, Todd Manual and am incredibly thankful for the proactive and committed School Board Trustees and Chair. I hope we don't see any of SD67 schools close. But, it doesn't hurt to work on correcting outstanding issues like that fact that WBE is not designated a rural school even though the school is within the boundaries of the RDOS. This is a start.
Thank you again, Mr Ashton our MLA, for keeping our Area top of mind while in Victoria.
To read the transcript on the debate on budget estimates with Minister Fleming and Dan Ashton, click here and scroll down to 2:55pm.
July 2, 2020 Penticton Herald article regarding the Committee of Supply debate.
June 10, 2020 Penticton Herald article reference by Mr. Ashton in the debate.
April 29, 2020 My update on the District PAC Budget meeting.
Thank you for reading,