To the editor,
I am the parent of a student attending St. Mary's Elementary. It is one of the schools mentioned in your cover story, Stephen Kimber's "Class dismissed" (Oct. 2) as under review for closure by one-man school board, Howard Windsor.
Windsor's reasoning is that St. Mary's is an old school that can't deliver the programming it should due to space constraints---for one thing, it lacks specialty classrooms. At one point, the plan was to replace it with a new school, built with Department of Education dollars. However, we are now being told that, in the event St. Mary's is closed, its students will be sent to Inglis Street Elementary, a school which happens to have specialty classrooms---except those classrooms will be taken up by the incoming St. Mary's students. Any plans for a new elementary school for the peninsula have either fallen by the wayside, or been kiboshed by public opinion.
This underlines the poor decision-making processes that seem to be taking place at the Halifax Regional School Board. First, it brings in outside consultants to determine the best use of present HRM educational facilities. Then, in many cases, it ignores those consultants' recommendations and makes its own decisions---in this case, to close a school for which there is not (at least by their criteria) a viable alternative. One wonders what the board's motivations for making these decisions could possibly be.
I am not alone in thinking St. Mary's Elementary can, and should, remain open. I won't get into the specifics of why it should remain open---and there are many, particularly its tremendously dedicated staff. Instead, I will make the general point that I hope the incoming elected school board will find a way to make well-informed decisions in a rational manner---in other words, decisions made for the right reasons.
By --John Davie