Get­ting schooled in Har­bour Grace

New Car­bon­ear school be­ing built at ex­pense of Har­bour Grace stu­dents, say par­ents

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

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.

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