Serving alcohol has been altered in the Central Okanagan Public Schools policy regarding rental of school facilities for after-school hours events. (Contributed)

Serving alcohol has been altered in the Central Okanagan Public Schools policy regarding rental of school facilities for after-school hours events. (Contributed)

Alcohol option opened up at Central Okanagan school facilities rented for events

Central Okanagan Board of Education retains final approval for after-hours event approvals

The Central Okanagan Board of Education has opened the facility rental policy door slightly for allowing alcohol consumption at events outside of school hours.

The approval would require appropriate licensing in place and final approval from the school board.

Other conditions would include a special event permit with at least “Serving It Right” certificate submitted and a security deposit of $1,000.

The policy runs opposite to official school district policy that consumption of alcohol or cannabis won’t be considered at any time on school district facilities during school operating hours or in the presence of students.

Trustee Julia Fraser, chair of the public policy committee, said the main focus for the change, under discussion for several months, is for retirement dinners and events, memorial events, board-sponsored activities and other community celebrations.

Trustee Amy Geistlinger said she had been hesitant about the school facility rental, but felt better about the cautious approval steps the school board has put in place.

“I think of our school facilities historically as drug-free zones, with zero tolerance for smoking and vaping…so I was hesitant about approving this because of that, but appreciate the time and conversation that has gone into reaching this point,” Geistlinger said.

Trustee Norah Bowman cited three reasons behind her support for the measure: events requesting this will be few and far between, the school board retains the right to reject any alcohol serving application, and most such events will likely occur after-hours at the school board office or Hollywood Education Centre where students are not present.

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