Friday, April 18, 2014

Time of school meeting slammed

Jackie McCormick, chair of the accommodation review committee at Sturgeon Creek School, is urging the public to attend a committee of the whole meeting scheduled for next Wednesday (Jan. 15) at 1 p.m. at the Rainy River District School Board office here.
The intention of the meeting is for trustees to discuss the possible consolidation of Sturgeon Creek, Donald Young, and Crossroads schools.

“I think we need to know how the trustees are feeling,” reasoned McCormick.
“We need to know what their opinions are, their thoughts on the process, and what’s going to happen,” she stressed.
“It’s going to give us a good indication, I think, as to how they are going to vote.”
The future of these schools has been up for review since June, 2011, when concerns about declining enrolment and surplus capacity, facility condition, and loss of funding for small schools were brought forward.
A committee of the whole meeting in November saw senior administration provided trustees with an analysis of the recent pupil accommodation reviews—with the recommendation to consolidate the three schools.
Trustees originally had been expected to vote on the consolidation at the regular school board meeting Jan. 7.
But they decided last month that they wanted another chance to get together to discuss it—delaying the vote until at least February.
While committee of the whole meetings are open to the public to observe, McCormick is not happy with the timing for the meeting—in the afternoon when many parents are working.
“It does seem a little bit like a ploy to have as few people there as possible,” she charged, especially given the November meeting was held in the evening at La Place Rendez-Vous in order to accommodate spectators.
“Now they have moved it to the boardroom at the board office,” McCormick noted.
“It just seems like such a stark contrast from one meeting to the next.”
She added that choosing an afternoon meeting makes her feel the board does not want parents to attend.
McCormick is not sure why that particular date and time was selected. She has inquired, but has not yet received a response.
“If it is because there was not an available evening where everyone could attend, then it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t look to the next month and then put the vote off until March,” she remarked, adding she hopes all trustees will be attending next Wednesday’s meeting.
And regardless of the time, McCormick also hopes people will do their best to make it.
“I would love for there to be too many people for the boardroom,” she said.
“It’s a big task for 1 p.m. on a Wednesday, but I would love to see lots and lots of people there.
“We do have a vested interested in this,” she stressed. “We do want to attend.”
McCormick said being at the meeting will allow the public to see where each trustee stands on the proposed consolidation.
“Potentially, then we could have a chance to persuade them, one way or the other, or who we have to look at further and who’s already on board with keeping all the schools,” she reasoned.

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