After years of shrinking enrolment, the North Okanagan Shuswap School District is now seeing growth, which is creating some capacity issues.
District Superintendent Peter Jory says space concerns have been identified in Armstrong, Enderby and Salmon Arm, with remedies such as moving grade 7’s from M.V. Beattie to A-L Fortune Secondary in Enderby, addressing the concerns for now.
“I am pleased to see that the M.V. Beattie transition has gone well. I appreciate all the work that has gone into making this happen,” says Jory.
Enderby has also added a bus route to Grindrod, along with a portable.
Remedies put in place in Armstrong include only kindergarten registrations and no cross-boundary transfers with students being referred to nearby Highland Park.
Salmon Arm has three schools that could go over capacity in the near future: Bastion, Hillcrest and Shuswap Middle School.
“Possible solutions could include any one, or a combination of, ideas including redrawing of K-5 catchment boundaries, reopening South Canoe school site as a regular school or program of choice, establish a single track French Immersion school, purchase of portables or further reconfiguration of K-12 schools in the area,” says a District news release.
Jory says before exploring potential costs and benefits, a review of updated Barager data will be required. “Before we go any further we need more accurate data and further conversations. We will be reviewing the in-formation again in the next few months.”
Official trustee Mike McKay feels it’s unlikely the province would be open to funding a new elementary school in Salmon Arm, given all the other priorities around BC.