The Glenfir School added an early childhood education program in the fall of 2010. Teachers Donna-Lee Hval

Summerland private school closes

The Glenfir School, a private school based in Summerland, is closing its doors permanently on March 18.

Craig Dunbar, head of the school, said the decision to close was upsetting. 

“It’s a tragedy, but it was a situation that couldn’t be avoided,” he said.

The school had been in existence since 1993, offering Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Declining enrollment took its toll on the school. At its peak in the early 2000s, the school had around 175 students. That number had dwindled to 76 this year.

“We simply do not have the financial means to continue operating our facility,” Dunbar said. “Unfortunately, we will not be able to re-open the school again after spring break.”

When the announcement was made on March 17, staff at the school were working to place the students in other schools. Dunbar said the school has been working to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“We tried at all costs to avert this time of year as opposed to June. That was our biggest obstacle to overcome and unfortunately it became larger than we anticipated,” he said. “It makes for a difficult jolt to our families, our community and ultimately to the kids.”

Dunbar said the mood was emotional at the school following the announcement of the closure.

“There is a strong feeling of sadness amongst all those who worked so tirelessly to develop The Glenfir School,” he said. 

In addition, a staff of 18, including 14 teachers, will be affected by the closure.

Dunbar said the recession and the demographics of the area had both taken their toll on the school.

“The economic reality, as it is, is difficult for families right now,” he said. “There are people who are struggling. That’s certainly been a major factor.”

Of the students at the school, the largest group were from Penticton and the South Okanagan, followed by West Kelowna students. Only six of the present students were from Summerland.

Wendy Hyer, superintendent of the Okanagan Skaha School District said some Glenfir parents have already contacted the school district to register their students in public schools.

“We’ve been working to make it as smooth as possible,” she said. “These kids are in a tough situation. We’ll do our best to meet the needs of the kids.”

She added that there is space at Giant’s Head Elementary School in Summerland, but Trout Creek Elementary School is near capacity.

Just Posted

Kelowna developer makes an effort to help students left homeless after flood

U-Two developer is making an effort to help university students who were left in a lurch

Two accidents on Highway 97 near Vernon College

Emergency personnel have been called to two separate incidents on Highway 97 near Okanagan College

Alleged Okanagan sex offender arrested in P.E.I.

Offences occurred while Ivan Glen Winchester was living in Summerland between 2006 and 2010

Kelowna subdivision slope erosion fuels landslide fears

City says up to $1.2 million in slope remedial work is required this spring

Big White welcomes fresh powder

19 centimeters of snow has dropped at Big White within the last 24 hours

Music Rundown: Who you should be watching play live this week

Fill your calendar this week with these great shows

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Golds basketball team tops rankings ahead of Okanagan Valley Championships

Salmon Arm team heads straight to semifinals after stellar season

UPDATE: Highway 97A reopened north of Vernon

Three people are in hospital following crash that has one in critical condition

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

School district facing capacity challenges

Rising enrolment, outdated data and classroom changes prompt discussions

Parole angers parents of Okanagan manslaughter victim

Tal Kalum LaRiviere was arrested in Alberta Feb. 18. He had previously been granted day parole

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Most Read