Efforts to save Arcadia Consolidated School during a school review process by the Tri-County Regional School Board earlier this year didn't work, as the board voted to close the elementary school. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
By Tina Comeau
The Tri-County Regional School Board is supposed to make a decision at its Jan. 7 monthly meeting pertaining to proposed school boundaries, but board member Ron Hines is hoping at that meeting that the board reconsiders a motion involving the closure of Arcadia Consolidated School.
Hines would like to see the school board delay its decision to close Arcadia Consolidated School, which involves having students attend class elsewhere in September 2014. He presented a notice of motion at the school board’s Dec. 3 monthly meeting.
Hines says there is too much confusion about proposed elementary, junior and senior high school boundaries that the board says are necessary because of the closure of Arcadia Consolidated School, which is attended by 186 elementary students.
Hines also says the board doesn’t yet know how a newly constructed or retrofitted elementary school will fit into the overall equation in terms of where students will attend school. A new elementary school is being sought to replace Central and South Centennial Schools, which the school board has also voted to close.
Hines says he wants to leave the board with options as to what to do in the future.
Asked if the notice of motion is a personal decision or based on public feedback, he says it is a product of both.
“It’s a decision I made over the past few weeks but it’s coming out of the feedback that we’re getting,” he said.
The school board has a special board meeting scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. at the board office where senior staff will present the board with a package based on the input the board has received from the public, school advisory council, principals and others about proposed school boundaries.
School board superintendent Lisa Doucet says there has been a “significant” amount of feedback, both during a public session and individual feedback that has been submitted to the school board.
Doucet says a lot of the input that has been received involves questions about what is proposed or suggestions for alternatives for the school board to consider.
She says people have questioned why a boundaries review is moving forward at this time, giving the uncertainty over a potential new elementary school. People have also questioned why it is proposed that students attend certain school over others.
She said at the Dec. 12 meeting board members will receive a summary of the input received, along with copies of the submissions that the board has received. Senior staff will also provide recommendations based on the public input.
Gerry Purdy, the board’s director of human resources, says administrative staff is determining which of the comments or suggestions were the more dominant ones contained in the input shared with the board.
“We’re only partially through that, so it’s an incomplete process right now,” he said at the board’s Dec. 3 meeting. “There wasn’t a lot of specific comments, ‘I’m in favour,’ ‘I’m not,’ some were more clear than others, but there was a variety of questions and suggestions around the process.”
“It’s a half-baked cake right now only because of the amount of information we’re sifting through, trying to capture what each of those people who submitted or presented wanted put out there,” he said.