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Letter to Osoyoos Community from Town Council on OSS Closure

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Letter to Osoyoos Community from Town Council on OSS Closure

On April 7, 2016 a tragic event occurred in our Osoyoos and area community when the Okanagan Similkameen School District #53 Board (Board) passed two readings of their bylaw to close the Osoyoos Secondary School (OSS) and bus 234 students to Oliver. The final reading of the bylaw will occur at their April 27th meeting. The vote was 4 to 3 with the Osoyoos representatives voting to retain secondary school services in our community. In reality, our secondary school was closed by school board representatives elected in other areas who have no attachment to our community. One can speculate that they were looking after the self-interests of their own school services.
Town Council THANKS all the members of the community who have become engaged in this event which has shaken our very foundation. The response from so many people is inspirational and indicative of our spirit and our wish for a brighter future for Osoyoos. Communities, like people, deal with “life changing events” and this is a major one. As in most life changing situations that we encounter, we soon come to understand that facing challenges with a sense of optimism provides more opportunity for success. What we see in our community is optimism and passion that will see us through some tough times.
I want to let the community know that we have not given up the fight to retain our secondary school. Council is working to set up a meeting to discuss this matter with the Honorable Mike Bernier, Minister of Education. The BC School Act enables the Minister to intervene if a school board’s actions are not in the best interests of the public. Council and the community don’t see that the school board’s decision is in the best interests of the public. Council is reviewing the opportunity to seek an injunction against the school board’s decision. We will also be putting the resources of the community into assisting the group that is endeavoring to establish an independent school.
I am encouraging everyone in the community to maintain a high level of engagement on this issue. There are still many hours to spend, tough decisions to be made, and we need everyone pulling together and staying strong. We all want what’s best for our kids and our community and sometimes that takes a little extra effort to make sure that democracy prevails.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”
Albert Einstein

Yours truly,
Mayor and Council
Town of Osoyoos

Event date: 
Friday, 08 April, 2016
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