Re: Possible School Closures

They had public meetings regarding the possible closure of  Kanata Elementary School and Seal Cove Elementary School… there isn’t updated information on the District Website, anyone know when we’ll find out were our kids are going to school in September?

The SD hasn’t made a decision yet, they won’t actually do that until July 10.

And judging by the newspaper account of the meeting on Tuesday night from Kanata I would wager in the end they defer the decision until the fall and that will mean that there will be no closures until next year, that’s just a guess, but it would seem to make the most sense. Heres the story from Wed paper.

Parents plead for more time for schools
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fear and anxiety will taint the summer holidays of students, support staff and teachers because of the school board’s decision to look at closing schools during the summer months, trustees heard this week.

At meetings to consider closing Seal Cove and Kanata Elementary Schools Monday and Tuesday night, parents expressed their outrage at the timing of the board’s process.

“No school in the province has ever shut down in the summer and there is good reason for that, because of all the problems that come with a closure at that time,” said Debra Fabbi, a teacher at Kanata.

No one will know until the board’s meeting July 10 what school, if any, will be closed.

By then, students, staff and teachers will have said good-bye for the summer months and will have no opportunity to work with each other through the transition, to celebrate their school or grieve its closing.

Students will not know their teachers at new schools and will have to spend the summer faced with the prospect of a new class, new classmates and a new building.

June Lewis, of the Seal Cove Parents Advisory Council, said the students have been really upset. They have been turning to their parents for answers about what will happen in the fall, but their parents have none.

“It has put our children under stress and that leads to health issues,” she said.

Colleen Wiens of the International Union of Operating Engineers, representing some 225 support staff, noted that she is not even sure the district has a secretary-treasurer available in the middle of August to help arrange the movement of support staff - those who work one-on-one with the most vulnerable students in the district.

“Vulnerable children experience transition with fear and anxiety,” she said. “These children already struggle year to year.”

Fabbi noted that according to the teacher contract, all the supports must be identified and in place before special needs students are integrated into the classroom.

“That means there should be child care worker support, special equipment and programming set up before the child comes to school. How long will that take? Days? Weeks?” she asked.

Marty Bowles of the Prince Rupert District Teacher’s Union, said the first thoughts of the district’s teachers and staff has been for their students.

“A lot of the burden of this falls on the teachers. They have to figure out where they will be and how to move materials. It will be a mess and (by doing this over the summer) will prolong an already difficult situation.”

Wiens added that the district’s consultant Dick Chambers has put forward another option at a meeting May 7 - put the brakes on the process for now, while making it clear the board intends to revisit the issue in the fall.

“Closing a school in July and August creates a lot of uncertainties, most of all for students,” she said.   

I was always of the opinion there are too many elementary schools in Prince Rupert.  I think there should only be two large elementary schools, one on either side of town.  All the resources are spread over a wide area, whereas, if the schools were larger, resources could be concentrated.  Having two schools would also reduce overall costs.  I would shut down conrad move students to seal cove and Kanata, then build a new district school in its place, then shut down seal cove and Kanata when the new school is ready.  What to do with Lach Kxeen?  Well thats my two cents.