Alfred Heim
Published On: Tue, Oct 18th, 2016

Parent’s Council Questions School Board’s Agenda at Info Session In South Stormont by Reg Coffey

document

Ingleside – Last night at the Lancer Centre in Ingleside over 200 people filled the auditorium to hear information about the planned realignment and closures of schools in South Stormont. The Long Sault Public School and the Rothwell-Osnabruck Parent Councils called for all residents in South Stormont to attend this meeting to be informed about the changes that the Upper Canada School Board is proposing and how it will affect not only the schools and students but the very nature of the communities in South Stormont.

Jennifer Mac Isaac and Dale Rudderham, co-chairs of the parents council, presented information on the proposed changes that highlighted possible very negative impact on the communities. These ranged from excessive bussing of lower grade students to the possible migration of families to Cornwall because of the centralization of High School education.

Mayor Jim Bancroft spoke of his disappointment in the proposals of the school board and expressed his support for the actions of the parents council. A representative from MPP Jim McDonnel’s office also took the stage to read a statement showing support for the parents council’s efforts.

School Board Trustee Wendy MacPherson addressed the gathering stating that she has to remain impartial as a Trustee but encouraged the parents councils to continue be aggressively involved in consultation with the school board. She did reveal that the School Boards tactic was to get the different schools to compete with each other for survival but she personally was happy with the collaboration between the parents councils.

When co-chair Dale Rudderham, “the numbers guy”, took the stage he pointed out a lot of inaccuracies with the financial justification by the UCSB. The school board did not include the extra cost of bussing in their justification but if it is included the cost of the proposed changes will end up costing $500,000 more than if they do nothing. The numbers crunched by Mr. Rudderham indicate there is no cost savings in implementing the current plan by the school board and in fact the process will create an added expense of half a million dollars.

It was suggested during the meeting that the school board is creating a need to build a super high school in Cornwall at the expense of the rest of the SD&G area.

The meeting ended with asking participants to brain storm and submit ideas to the parents council. Jennifer MacIsaac implored parents, students and all residents continue to question the school board and to participate in protests to change or cancel the proposed changes to the schools within the UCSB district.