Tuesday, August 9, 2016

UNELECTED TRUSTEES TO VOTE AGAIN TO CLOSE WHITBOURNE ELEMENTARY

NLESD SITE
Round three of the battle by the NL English School District and the provincial government to close Whitbourne Elementary kicks off at a special meeting of the unelected board to table a notice to close the school at the end of the 2016-17 school year.

Parents and community members won a court challenge against the board just a few weeks ago.  The decision by Liberal government appointees to close the school as of June of 2016 was quashed when Justice Valerie Marshall ruled that parents did not have enough time and were not given all requested information to prepare a proper a rebuttal to the closure motion.   She also ordered the board to pay the parents legal costs.

In April, the unelected public school board  trustees voted to close five schools in province despite pleas to the provincial government, and the board, to hold off any decisions on the future of schools until an elected board was in place.

The good news for the community is that the school will be open for the upcoming school year. The bad news, they are back in a fight for the schools survival for the third time in five years. 

Whitbourne was the only community to launch an appeal.

Obviously, the board is determined to close the school  and is allowing plenty of time for the review process this time.  

Frankly, with an election promised by the current Minister of Education scheduled for this Fall, I do not understand why any further school closures would be discussed by unelected trustees. The trustees were originally appointed in 2013 as a temporary measure. 

As well, why is the government not requesting changes to the flawed process including providing financial resources to allow independent research and verification of the boards data. It would also be an ideal time to eliminate the option that allows for secret ballot votes on school closures to permit accountability and transparency.

I must put together a ATIP request for correspondence between the Department of Education and the board regarding the court decision. 






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