Min­is­ter should con­sider school pro­posal

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

In April, 2016, the Cape Bre­ton Vic­to­ria Re­gional School Board (CBVRSB) made de­ci­sions on school clo­sures in Cape Bre­ton.

One of the schools cho­sen to close was Bridge­port El­e­men­tary School on the prom­ise and hope of a new school for the Glace Bay Fam­ily of Schools.

How­ever, we be­lieve this is not a fi­nan­cially fea­si­ble de­ci­sion for our govern­ment and our school board. With a stu­dent en­rol­ment that will con­tinue to de­cline a new school is just not go­ing to hap­pen in the near fu­ture.

Two of the schools cho­sen to re­main open re­quire, we be­lieve, ma­jor emer­gency main­te­nance which is eat­ing up a ma­jor­ity of the CBVRSB’s bud­get.

We un­der­went a school re­view process with one of the di­rec­tives be­ing to free up bud­get dol­lars for our chil­dren’s pro­grams and re­sources (guid­ance, re­source and art teach­ers) which we know are at risk of be­ing taken away. Would it not make sense to close two schools that are in a con­stant state of dis­re­pair and re­open one school that re­quires min­i­mal main­te­nance costs, sav­ing the CBVRSB bud­get funds through op­er­a­tional costs and main­te­nance?

We un­der­stand school clo­sure de­ci­sions were dif­fi­cult to make and that our board does what it can with what it is given. We are only ask­ing to give our chil­dren the best of what we have now that we know a new school is not an op­tion.

In April, 2017, Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Karen Casey ap­proved the “Class­rooms in the Com­mu­nity” pro­posal as a pi­lot project in Louis­bourg be­gin­ning Septem­ber, 2017. Casey sub­mit­ted a let­ter to the CBVRSB stat­ing that this pro­posal is worth look­ing at and that her depart­ment would work with the CBVRSB fi­nance depart­ment to find fund­ing to off­set the op­er­a­tional costs next year for Ge­orge D. Lewis El­e­men­tary.

We feel this is also a pos­si­bil­ity that could be con­sid­ered for re­open­ing Bridge­port School as a com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­ity.

On April 19, 2017, a pro­posal en­ti­tled “A Safer Place For Our Chil­dren to Learn and Grow.” was handed over to MLA Dave Wil­ton on be­half of our com­mu­nity group. This pro­posal was hand de­liv­ered to Casey with his sup­port and he is now await­ing a re­ply. This pro­posal out­lines the ben­e­fits to all of the chil­dren in the Glace Bay Fam­ily of Schools and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties along with its cost ef­fec­tive­ness.

We are only seek­ing what is fair for all com­mu­ni­ties, stu­dents and staff. We be­lieve our pro­posal is a great fit for our com­mu­nity as was Louis­bourg. Casey has agreed to fund their pro­posal and we be­lieve she should con­sider ours.

As of now Bridge­port School is be­ing uti­lized by Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton in part­ner­ship with the CBRM. This lays the ground­work for our own com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment piece.

The Adult Learn­ing Pro­gram has also ex­pressed in­ter­est in us­ing the fa­cil­ity for their evening classes. There are end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties for Bridge­port School to be uti­lized by all or­ga­ni­za­tions in Glace Bay and sur­round­ing ar­eas which, in turn, would off­set costs for the CBVRSB.

To Min­is­ter Casey, we know you are lis­ten­ing and hear our voices. Our goal is to do what is best for all chil­dren in these com­mu­ni­ties and was never to crit­i­cize the board or our min­is­ter. We en­cour­age you to ac­cept our pro­posal. Linda Tracey, Tammy MacInnis, Deb­bie Tracey, Brenda Ma­cLean Glace Bay

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