Getting schooled in Harbour Grace
New Carbonear school being built at expense of Harbour Grace students, say parents
The chairman of the St. Francis school council believes the quality of education for primary and elementary students in Harbour Grace will suffer in the long term if the Eastern School District proceeds with its plan to reconfigure the Grade 6-9 school and close Harbour Grace Primary.
But the Eastern School District assures Harbour Grace parents the quality of education to be offered to their children will not decline as a result of a restructured school system.
According to a decision passed by the board on June 7, 2006, “ Harbour Grace Primary … will close when a new school is built to replace Davis Elementary, Carbonear and the necessary renovations are completed to St. Francis School … but not before June 2010.”
The actual planned closure of the primary school and restructuring of St. Francis is still well over a year —perhaps closer to two years — away.
But the site work and imminent start of construction for the new primary/elementary school in Carbonear has effectively accelerat- ed the inevitable fate of both Harbour Grace schools. It has also sparked a response from concerned parents in Harbour Grace.
As was reported in last week’s Compass, the new school going up in Carbonear is designed to accommodate K-8 students from that town’s catchment area.
St. Francis, meanwhile, “ will be reconfigured from a 6-9 school to a K-8 school for the Harbour Grace catchment area,” according to the board’s motion.
New school not problem
“I have no problem with Davis Elementary, a 45-year-old building, being replaced,” Harbour Grace mayor Don Coombs told The Compass last week. But he fears, “ the education system itself is going to suffer; it’s not going to be the same quality of education we have now.”
Coombs is especially concerned about programs like French Immersion, which he suggests could be eliminated, and a restructured St. Francis could also spell the loss of department heads.