Monday, June 1, 2009

Stratford To Get New School....

My guess is that when Marty Murphy and her group meet with Minister Greenan and the Premier this morning the only real answer she will get is there is going to be a new school built in Stratford... the bottom line is the Eastern School Board went through a process for the closings, which some might say was flawed, but they did proceed with the "process" according to the School Act and I'd be shocked if the Premier would waiver from the Board's recommendation... in fact it wouldn't surprise me if Cabinet revisits the St. Jean's recommendation and close it as there doesn't appear to be any real support there... to sum it up there will be at least 8 schools closed and a new one for Stratford so get the shovels ready....
Final say on schools now up to province
The Guardian
The Eastern School District has recommended eight schools for closure, but it is now for government to decide whether to permanently shut those schools at the end of this month.On Friday, the district’s 10 trustees and the board chair voted on superintendent Sandy MacDonald’s controversial permanent school reorganization plan, which proposed closure of 11 of the district’s 43 schools. The trustees debated for hours Friday night on the merits of each school and whether MacDonald’s report was proper and complete. In the end, three schools were saved, but eight received majority votes recommending closure. But school boards do not have the final say and that decision is made by cabinet. Premier Robert Ghiz has said numerous times government likely will not second guess the district’s decisions. “We know that the previous government said they wouldn’t close any schools whatsoever,” Ghiz told The Guardian in a previous interview. “We want to make sure we work cohesively together with the Eastern School District. We’ll take those recommendations and most likely we’ll approve them.” But there are many advocates firmly opposed to the Eastern School District’s closure process. They believe government should not merely rubber stamp the board’s recommendations. Martie Murphy, president of the Grand Tracadie Home and School Association and member of the Rural Alliance Coalition for Education (R.A.C.E.), said she expects cabinet to recognize gaps that many identified in MacDonald’s report, including some of the trustees themselves. “I think when you see a split board of trustees — five for and five against (closures) and it ends up being up to the chairman to decide, I just don’t think that’s good enough.” She and the other heads of RACE have finally secured a meeting with the premier and Education Minister Gerard Greenan this morning to discuss their concerns with proposed closures. Murphy said she intends to make them aware of the intense and often heated difference of opinion on the schools and MacDonald’s closure report that became clear with the trustees’ debates on Friday night. The female trustees spoke at length about how they felt the entire process was rushed and that major issues of transportation, school rezoning, kindergarten implementation in schools next year and the coming influx of immigrant families are all things that have not been properly addressed. All five female trustees voted against all closures. The men, however, said they felt the educational opportunities for students are in jeopardy in some of these schools since many of them are in split-grade classrooms and have limited access to special resources such as reading recovery. All five men voted mostly in favour of closure, except in the cases of the three schools saved. Board chair Bob Clow broke all ties by voting in favour of closure. This shows there are many lingering concerns that need to be addressed before any schools in the province can close, Murphy said.She and the other members of RACE hope government will halt the closure process to look at those issues in more depth. “We just want the opportunity for it to be credible and to do it right so I’m really hoping that the integrity of this government can prevail on this issue and that we’re going to have the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and do something really good for education on this Island,” Murphy said. “Whether we close schools, keep schools open — we just need all of the facts on the table.”

No comments: