Wednesday, October 1, 2014

School trustees against consolidation

A decision has not been made officially yet but it seems Rainy River District School Board trustees are against administration’s recommendation to consolidate Donald Young, Crossroads, and Sturgeon Creek schools with a new one in Emo.
Trustees voiced their opinions at a committee of the whole meeting earlier this afternoon at the board office, with more than 40 members of the public in attendance.

Eight possible options and four actions have been up for consideration by trustees regarding the future of the three district schools.
But it seems the two options most considered have been “Option 3” (consolidation of all three schools with a new school to be built in Emo) and “Option 1” (keep all schools open, and continue regular maintenance and repair).
Trustee Dan Belluz said he feels the schools should be maintained as is for the next few years until more certainly about mining operations in the area can be determined.
While trustee Dianne McCormack noted it’s not an easy decision to make not knowing what the future holds, she agreed the three schools in question are “serving our students well and right now there’s no need for change.”
“All we can do is make the best decision with the data we are given,” echoed trustee Ralph Hill, adding he is in favour of “Option 1.”
Trustee Earl Klyne, meanwhile, indicated First Nations’ communities are not prepared to bus their students farther than necessary and are strongly against consolidation of the three schools.
Trustee Dave Kircher said he doesn’t feel this decision is based on finances and offered his opinion that all three schools remain open, but with Donald Young in Emo being rebuilt.
“[But] not to accommodate the other schools,” Kircher stressed, noting he’d also like to see the school designed in such a way that it could be added onto down the road if needed.
“I think it could be done with a little foresight,” he said, adding he didn’t feel it necessary to close Crossroads or Sturgeon Creek.
Trustee Marg Heyens and board chair Mike Lewis agreed with Kircher’s suggestion.
“I really think our schools are worth keeping the way our geography is,” Heyens remarked.
Lewis, for his part, noted schools are a large part of sustaining a community.
A formal vote will take place at the board’s regular meeting Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Education Centre (board office) in Fort Frances.

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