Closing Schools : How to Not Make Friends

                                                                                  

Yes, we are looking at the declining number of students in our district and deciding what is best for our students. The problem of under capacity in our schools is most evident in the District of Sechelt area, at this time, because of the relatively high number of elementary schools (4).

The Board decided to look at consolidation of schools in the area in April, 2009. For a history of the process go to: http://www.sd46.bc.ca/secheltschools

At the last Board of Education meeting (December 15th, 2009) Trustees spoke of the issue and the different options that have arisen through consultation. Most Trustees spoke in favour of maintaining a neighbourhood school in Davis Bay and closing Sechelt Elementary. Therefore, the following Notice of Motion was presented:

“That a by-law to close Sechelt Elementary School in Sechelt, British Columbia be read for a first and second time at the January 12, 2010 Regular Board Meeting.”

Thinking about closing schools has been a horrible process, and, of course, we have had a lot of feedback since the Notice of Motion. A lot of the feedback was positive, but many have criticized the Trustees in favour of keeping a school in Davis Bay.

(BTW-I really appreciate ALL the feedback I have received. I am so pleased that so many people in our community take the time to get involved.)

Most critics state (in one form or another) that this preference is “political” rather than “educational”. I’m not completely sure what that means but I guess the implication is that we are pandering to the voters in Davis Bay by keeping “their” school open. I can see how people might feel that way.

But, for me, the decision is purely educational. I believe in neighbourhood schools, because I think parent/family involvement in a child’s education is one of the greatest determinants of a child’s success. I think a school of around 100 kids in DB is viable. A school of 60 kids in Sechelt is not.

If parents are willing to accept the realities (combined classes, less services) that come along with the positive aspects of a “small” school, than I will generally support it, if it is economically possible.

See you at the January 12th meeting.

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1 Comment

Filed under Sunshine Coast Board of Education, Sunshine Coast News and Politics

One response to “Closing Schools : How to Not Make Friends

  1. Silas

    To Jason and his growing base of blog readers:

    Both “if”s you bring up at the end are important. Not only the “economically possible” one, which is self-explanatory, but I think we need to explore the other “if” more as well. What will the “realities” be? Do some parents think that the school still needs more numbers but these numbers will automatically come through an influx of students from another school being closed, or from a change in catchment boundaries? If so, we need to construct a better idea of whether this will be true, and through data, not guesses. I am hoping that trustees and the community will be able to have a better idea of these “if”s before final decisions are made.

    Silas White

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