School Closure and Configuration

Was anybody else at the meeting last night?
The Northern View has a good summary in its on line edition.
I have no idea what the board should do.  It looks like they have to decide on the least bad option rather than on the best good option.

I attended but had to leave prior to the QA portion. I wonder what is the best option … I am out of town next Wed for the second half … too bad that more people didn’t attend. It seemed well presented ( this is my first school board presentation so … maybe I am wrong?)

yes, it is too bad more people don’t attend these meetings.  Having lived through 2 school closures, I am tired of listening to lip service.  The decision has already been made - board is going through the motions only to make the townsfolk feel “included”

if this does happen (which it probably will) I really hope theres no cuts to the PRSS drama and arts programs or the trades at CHSS.  The shcools are actually quite different, and I’d like to see all the courses and programs offered remain in the district.  I also hope the city of Prince Rupert fights to keep the rainmakers team and logo…its been around far too long to throw away.

Well if it’s inclusion that the School District board would like, it’s simple.

Present each of the alternatives for the parents and have a referendum on which option they best prefer.

Though the options would have to be quite clear as to what the cost and ramifications of each one might be so the voters had the complete picture.

That way there can be no complaining at the end of the day, if few parents vote then that is indicative of their lack of interest and they would thus lose the right to complain.

However, if properly explained it could re-engage them into the debate and leave them with the final decision.

At the moment I’m not sure what all these focus groups and such they are planning for the next session will provide, other than a lot of talk perhaps skewed towards the desired answer that the SD wants.

Best way to get the public’s approval is to present their case with what ever number of options they have, take the vote and work with the results.

I was also in attendance at the meeting.  A number of thoughts occurred to me:

  1. It was very clear that there is a “preferred option”.  The high schools merge, a 6 - 8 middle school, followed by closure of one or more elementary schools.  

The process is manipulative.  The public discussion is about merging the two high schools and should we have a middle school.  The “desired outcome”, would be that if we have a middle school, then the west side elementary schools would be so depopulated that there would be no available argument against closure.

At that point, the community would be confronted with a divisive debate about which school closes.  The presentation made clear that the debate would be between Westview and Roosevelt.  Hmmm…what are the implications of that?

  1.  There was a lot of missing information.  There was no specific costing of anticipated repairs to CHSS.  There was no specific costing of maintenance of PRSS as a middle school.  There were no guarantees that the provincial government would commit to building a dedicated new middle school.  (Is anyone else skeptical about the B.C. Liberals opening the coffers in the foreseeable future?  But hey, we can finance vip parties in Vancouver!). Pacific Coast School was never mentioned in terms of possible closure, despite the fact that its costs are high, and its enrollment low.  There was no inclusion of costs associated with senior administration, despite the fact that there were seven members of senior admin staff present (estimate: $700,000 worth of salary), and all were apparently there to repeat the desired outcome in different words.  I, for one, would appreciate evidence of independent thought from people earning 6 figures.

  2.  The format was designed to minimize public discussion.  A 75 minute powerpoint presentation, followed (at long last) by an opportunity for question and comment for an hour.  The next meeting to be a small group format based on discussion points to be determined by senior management.  No more opportunities for the public to address the public at large.  

All in all, a disappointing exercise which preached listening, but consisted of speaking.  If the public wants to affect the outcome, it will need to be loud and emphatic.

I agree, they put a very poor ad in the paper advertising an “information and consultation meeting” but there was no mention what it was about. No word about closure of PRSS or school configuration.

That’s not quite fair to the School district, I’m pretty sure that anyone that wanted to know about this meeting knew about it. There were flyers sent home with the students, there’s been much news about in the local media and they even had Cam McIntyre making robo calls (well I hope that was a robo call :smiley:).

I’ve wondered about the way the School District and  board has handled things in the past, but on the topic of organizing the meetings this fall they’ve been pretty good at it.

The ad perhaps could have been worded better, but for folks to say they did not know anything about the meeting probably reflects more on them than the school district.

To sum it up:  Waaaah!  Waaaa!  Don’t take away our basketball team!

I wanted to ask but didn’t , how many of the schools in Rupert are up to standard, and why have we not had any of the leaky condo repairs done yet to CHSS, what is the cost to reno CHSS to fit the approximately 600 more students?  I went to Booth when we had 7-12 and 1-6 school split system, not the best option but is it a better option than what is currently proposed?  I am quite shocked at how few parents where there, lots of teachers , and by the way did anyone think that there is a lot of ADMIN at the SD?

you would think decisions could be made, now that we have more directors of whatever.  The board talks about how many less students this district has, and will have, as the years progress and, yet, can justify more upper management???  How can we possibly need more managers for less students??  Ahhh, always the same old discussion - let us not forget the revered RAINMAKERS!  Cos school is nothing without their sports teams.  A public referendum would be great, but each interest group (board, upper mgmnt, PRDTU, IUOE) has their own spin on numbers, stats, etc.  First you have to decide which “team” you are on and THEN defend those decisions.  But, remember, those who hold the purse strings, have the most votes.

You make a very valid point!  I agree with you.

As a parent with a child attending an elementary school I was not given sufficient notice of the meeting. I only got the automated phone call from the Secretary Treasurer three days before the meeting and read in the paper about a meeting - as I said before the topic of the meeting was not mentioned in the ad- five days before it.
If this consultation meeting was about the possible closure of PRSS, the school board can no longer be in the position to make that decision because it didn’t follow the process set out in its own regulation to have such a consultation meeting advertised in the local paper seven days in advance.
That leaves me with the impression, that I see so many other people share, that the decision is already made and a middle school is being put into PRSS and another elementary school will be closed.

Here is the regulation:

Preamble:    School  Districts are  required to have  a  regulation  that  includes a  
public   consultation   process   with   respect   to   permanent   school   closures   and  
this regulation must  be available to the public.  
For   the  purpose  of   this  regulation,   “permanent   closureâ€

its own regulation to have such a consultation meeting advertised in the local paper seven days in advance.[/quote]

Depending on timely publication in the Daily News? 

I am not sure about timelines but the school district has already passed a motion to close PRSS.  It was done at an meeting in September.  However, the motion was only read twice.  The third reading will take place after the consultation meetings.  (I think.) … inutes.pdf

As to the decision already made, Ms Hauptmann and Mr. Stigant have both been clear that they favour the middle school option.  The board members will certainly listen to them but I am not sure if they have made up their minds. (he says perhaps naively.)

For several years it has become obvious that the two high schools have not offered all the programs at the grade 11/12 level that would be available if all those students were in one school.

How they solve that problem impacts other decisions.  What configuration of grades do we want if we put the grade 11 and 12s together. 

If we go to the middle school option, the number of k-5 students would almost inevitably lead to the closing of one more elementary school. 

If we go other options we are spending money on buildings and repairs rather than on people and programs.

As I said earlier, I don’t think there is a good answer.  We are picking the one that is the least bad.  When that is the case, all information should be clear not just to the people making the decision but to the students, parents, and staff that it impacts.

The provincial government doesn’t allow us to have the luxury of 2  senior schools. Other “luxuries” will probably be cut as the cost of the games roll in and deficit financing becomes our reality.
They’ve already wasted too much money studying what most already knew about seismic at PRSS.
The CHSS contractor debacle will probably cost us a few more pennies because it hasn’t been done in a forth right manner.
We can’t afford PRSS but we can afford a whole new set of inputs to get a few kids enrolled at the Pacific Coast School…there were other cost effective options.

Does anyone know why PRSS wasnt given the seismic upgrades in 2004?  Its on the list as one of the first schools to be completed back when the program was introduced.  Has any of our elected board members looked into this…

Maybe they can hold a public meeting about it

I want to clarify a comment I made earlier in this thread.  I suggested that the Pacific Coast School should be “on the table” regarding closure because it was a “high cost, low enrollment” school.  So, here is my clarification:

The Pacific Coast School currently (I am told) has an enrollment of 40 students.  There are 2.5 teachers, resulting in a teaching load of about 15 students per teacher.  

I would add to this, however, that there is a full time administrator and secretarial position, plus whatever costs are associated with leasing the building.  Also, my previous comment was in response to the senior administration’s presentation at the public forum.  In that presentation they claimed 33.8 students as the enrollment of PCS.

I think we could spend a lot of negative energy debating the efficiency implications of those numbers.  I was simply making the point that if we are going to engage in a public debate about school closures, then we should include all the information about all the schools in that debate.

I leave it to all of you to form opinions as to the “expense” of any particular program in the district.  

The road to consensus runs through transparency, and I think that this requires the management to be completely open about the financial side of these questions.  

PR probably wasn’t given any upgrades because the report wasn’t complete and the fact that it is 3 different sinking  buildings.
Why didn’t Pacific Coast School open in one of the other retired schools instead of adding additional costs to the sd.
Why didn’t the First Nations building aka old Alternate School get used as a Child Behavioural Assesment building. With a dedicated Dr etc…the opportunity was there.
Transparency, consistency and honesty are lacking in various degrees. Surprising that long acting Trustees seem to have little or no knowledge of past events that cost time and money.