The Kamloops-Thompson school board decision to approve a new school for Sun Peaks was just "common sense," according to the resort municipality's mayor Al Raine.
The school was nowhere near a sure thing on July 6 when trustees last met and expressed several reservations over the "rushed" nature of the proposal, the consequences on nearby Heffley Creek school and the possible capital costs associated with unforeseen expansion.
But at Monday's school board meeting, trustees voted to sign off on an agreement limiting capital costs and showing that by year two, the school would be as economical as the current online education system at Sun Peaks.
"Common sense has a funny way of coming around. Somebody once said 'It's so rare today it's often mistaken for genius,'" said Raine.
"When the administration looked at what the numbers were, the growth that was happening at Sun Peaks, I think they became aware that it made good sense to start a school sooner rather than later."
The initial proposal was for a kindergarten to Grade 7 school but an agreement drafted between district staff and Sun Peaks Distance Learning teachers over the summer resulted in an amended kindergarten to Grade 5 school with Grades 6 and 7 students remaining in the online education program.
"It just didn't work out with the numbers," said Raine. "Most numbers are from Grades 2 to 5 so that worked out best."
Trustees expressed their support for the school based on the needs of the resort's children and the growing community itself.
"I would recognize that within that municipality until they have a school and start establishing these services, it will stunt their growth and the ability to attract people and families to the area," said trustee John Harwood.
Trustee Meghan Wade was the lone dissenting voice, saying that although she doesn't oppose a school eventually, it feels "incredibly rushed" and she has "severe reservations" around the proposed four-day school week.
The Sun Peaks proposal for a four-day week would see students in class for six hours a day to accommodate working parents who may not be able to fit their schedule around a typical school day.
Wade wasn't the only one to balk at the school calendar.
Trustee Joan Cowden expressed concern over children as young as five years old being in classrooms for such long days. But that didn't dissuade her from approving the draft agreement.
"I think from what (assistant superintendent) Mr. (Karl) deBruijn said, there may be room for some negotiation," she said.
Raine said that indeed there is room for discussion with Sun Peaks parents. But he said the school day may not seem any longer to children than the other option.
"People are concerned about how long is the day; on the other side we're prepared to bus them one hour each way. That's a lot too for small children," he said.
Trustees were also reassured that Heffley Creek Elementary's population would remain stable since that community's parents have so far expressed no interest in sending their kids to Sun Peaks.
The school district anticipates 41 students to be enrolled in the new Sun Peaks school starting next week.
Rayleigh Elementary staff will oversee Sun Peaks school's administration.
Two temporary teachers will be in placed until mid-month. That's when the district typically posts job openings for all their schools. Vacancies are the inevitable result of surprise enrolments at the beginning of the school year, said deBruijn.
By the end of September, full term teachers will be in place.