Parents made passionate pleas to keep their schools open last night at a public meeting for people to share feedback on the school board’s proposed 10-year facilities plan for Halifax and Dartmouth.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Peter Lavell, about the proposal to replace Joseph Howe Elementary with a bigger school also serving St. Joseph’s-Alexander McKay Elementary and St. Patrick’s Alexandra.
Following recommendations made by consultants hired by the Halifax regional school board, board staff proposed a plan that would see five schools on the peninsula and 10 in Dartmouth reviewed for potential closure over the next decade.
Some of last night’s 23 scheduled presenters spoke about the necessity of keeping north-end Halifax’s small, inner-city schools because they have a thriving sense of community and their close proximity to low-income families, many of who don’t own cars.
St. Joseph’s Alexander- McKay Elementary student Xander Jordan attended the meeting wearing a bright yellow T-shirt saying “Save our school.”
Several people made presentations asking one-man school board Howard Windsor to also rule out reviewing Cornwallis Junior High in south-end Halifax for closure.
“Explain to me why the HRSB with the stated goal of becoming the most improved board in Canada could seriously consider closing a successful school that has the capacity to meet the demand of the foreseeable future?” said Jane Thorburn, a mother of two children in Grade 5 and 8.
About 150 people who showed up at last night’s meeting applauded suggestions that the consultants’ method of polling the public was flawed. The meeting followed two others scheduled last week.
The next public meeting is April 2 at Dartmouth High, 6 p.m.
Windsor deferred a decision until April 23.
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