You can’t say the Rainy River District School Board isn’t giving the public ample opportunity to voice their opinion on the proposed closure of three elementary schools in favour of an expanded J.W. Walker here.
The plan has been discussed at the board table—and covered extensively in the media—for almost two years, and parents had the chance to offer input when the three school sub-committees prepared reports for the board on the pending closures.
Those reports, presented to the board in December, showed support for closure by the Alexander MacKenzie and Sixth Street sub-committees, with the Alberton Central one coming out against it.
But the board hasn’t stopped there. It’s now holding public meetings on the proposed closures at the three schools involved, starting tonight at Sixth Street. And sure enough, it appears at least some parents at both Sixth Street and Alexander MacKenzie are not in favour of seeing their schools closed.
Still others are expressing concerns over the traffic volume that already exists at J.W. Walker, as well as having to send their children to Robert Moore during construction of the expansion.
These are all valid points—and ones school board trustees want to hear. That’s why they’ve scheduled these three public meetings tonight, tomorrow night, and on Feb. 26.
This is precisely the time for parents to air their concerns, not after the final decision has been made. By that same token, those who support the closures and an expanded J.W. Walker also must come out so that their point of view is heard.
After all, the best decisions are made when trustees (or councillors) can weigh the broadest information possible. Sometimes, too, a compromise or another solution altogether can be found that no one may have thought of before.
The bottom line is simple. No matter which side you’re on, take the time to give your input. You may not like the final decision, but at least you may have helped come up with a better one in the process.
Complaining after a decision is made does no one any good.