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Opinion: NDP Education Critic Rob Fleming’s attendance at meeting was ‘interference’ and ‘political opportunism’ – MLA Larson

Opinion: NDP Education Critic Rob Fleming’s attendance at meeting was ‘interference’ and ‘political opportunism’ – MLA Larson
MLA Linda Larson.

MLA Linda Larson.

I want to thank Osoyoos-and-area residents who attended last night’s public consultation meeting at the Sonora Community Centre and gave input on the school closures issue.

This was the second of two well-attending meetings at which members of the public presented their thoughts to school board members, who will consider every option before making any decisions affecting the future of either Osoyoos Secondary School or Osoyoos Elementary.

Local residents giving input on an important local issue is at the heart of a constructive process.

What is not constructive, however, is interference in the form of political opportunism, specifically from Victoria MLA Rob Fleming, the Opposition NDP’s education critic.

This is a difficult time for our school board as it grapples with the effects of declining enrolment and the possibility of closing either of these two schools.

That is why suggestions and potential solutions from local people are welcome and encouraged. Local students, parents and taxpayers have a direct interest in the fate of our schools – and they deserve to have their opinions heard and considered.

What our community doesn’t need is Mr. Fleming’s continuing sideshow, which serves no purpose other than to address his and his party’s desire to bash the B.C. government at every turn.

As a long-time resident of this area, and as a parent and grandparent, I understand the community attachment to our schools. Needless to say, this issue concerns me deeply and I support the decision reached Tuesday night to have a third party help with the ideas presented.

I have repeatedly brought forward the community’s concerns to the Minister of Education so that he understands the issues in our riding.

I support any and all viable options for keeping our schools open. However, this decision will not be dictated by politicians in far-off Victoria.

Local residents elected our school trustees to make difficult decisions and it would be disrespectful – not to mention downright wrong – to take that responsibility from them.

I have always had our communities’ best interests at heart. I also firmly believe local decisions should be made by the people who know the community best – the people who live here.

Linda Larson, MLA, Boundary-Similkameen

Special to the Times


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