Thoughts on school closure debates

The Trustee’s meeting of April 19th was like 2 separate meetings. A lot has been said about the debate and discussion about the school funding or RAM part of the budget process on this website and in the media.

But also on the agenda was two school closure items.  As frustrating and antagonistic as these processes can be, the trustees as a whole did a remarkable job of looking at both Program and School closure issue’s with much thought, deliberation and insight. (Note: I have a student in Belfast school, which would have been affected by the closure, and I had worked to prevent it.)

For Mayland Heights school’s English program, the final decision was a reprieve as Trustees voted 4-2 against. Voting against (Lane, Taylor, Bazinet and King) Voting For (Cochrane and Ferguson). Trustee’s Taylor, Bazinet, Lane and King all said the proposal to close Mayland Heights English program and move it to Belfast school was not the right move, putting Belfast very close to 100% capacity. They all stated the parent groups involved were well organized and they would like to see the parents and school administration given the chance to bring their declining numbers to a reasonable level. Trustees quoted from comments made by parents at the parent meetings and spoke of visits to the schools affected and how these visits impacted their decision. Both trustee King and Taylor visited both schools.

For James Lougheed school, the result was quite different, with all trustees voting for school closure. The same sentiment surrounded debate on this decision however. Trustees spoke again of school visits and the impact on the community of a closure. They spoke of the numbers, but more importantly the people involved. They voted unanimously for closure but all had some concerns during debate over this.

See our video of the meeting which covers all the debate, questions and discussion over these 2 motions and administration recommendations.

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