Eastern School Dis­trict to re­scind mo­tion to close schools in Whit­bourne, Heart’s De­light-is­ling­ton

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NICHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

Sup­port­ers of schools in Whit­bourne and Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton got some good news last week when the board of trus­tees of the Eastern School Dis­trict an­nounced it would be re­scind­ing the mo­tion to close both schools at the end of this school year.

The news caught many of­f­guard, as both Whit­bourne El­e­men­tary and Epiphany El­e­men­tary were sched­uled to close at the end of June when school let out for the sum­mer.

That de­ci­sion was made late last year at a meet­ing of the board of trus­tees at Holy Redeemer School in Spa­niard’s Bay.

The board of trus­tees will be hold­ing a spe­cial meet­ing in or­der to ta­ble the mo­tion to re­scind the pre­vi­ous mo­tion to close both schools.

“The news gives us new life,” said Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton Mayor Den­zil Shep­pard. “It’s a sec­ond chance.”

Shep­pard said a school is the “back­bone” of any com­mu­nity and he hailed Epiphany as “one of the best in Trin­ity south.”

He said he is re­lieved that the stu­dents in his com­mu­nity will not have to be up­rooted and forced to travel 15 kilo­me­tres to Acre­man El­e­men­tary in Green’s Har­bour.

Stu­dents from Whit­bourne El­e­men­tary were sched­uled to start the new school year at Wood­land El­e­men­tary in Dildo.

“The peo­ple of the Town of Whit­bourne and sur­round­ing ar­eas are de­lighted to hear that the Eastern School Dis­trict board of trus­tees will be bring­ing for­ward a mo­tion to re­scind the pre­vi­ous mo­tions,” said the Save Whit­bourne El­e­men­tary group in a press re­lease. “On be­half of par­ents, chil­dren and res­i­dents, we want to thank each trustee for mak­ing the right de­ci­sion.”

Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process

Also on the agenda for the meet­ing will be the tabling of a new mo­tion that will com­mence a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process with the af­fected school com­mu­ni­ties with re­spect to the po­ten­tial clo­sure of both schools.

“We want to be con­sulted, we want to re­view fac­tual data and we want to work to­gether with the trus­tees and the depart­ment of ed­u­ca­tion to help make de­ci­sions that are in the best in­ter­est of our chil­dren,” said the Whit­bourne group.

That is an­other piece of good news for sup­port­ers of both schools. It will give stu­dents, par­ents and com­mu­nity lead­ers the op­por­tu­nity to state their case for sav­ing their schools.

It is pos­si­ble that both schools will be given an­other year.

When the process is started again, Shep­pard has one re­quest for those in­volved.

“I’d like govern­ment to take a look at the ser­vices we have in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton,” he said.

The meet­ing is sched­uled for 7:30 p.m. on Mon­day (May 13) at the Dis­trict Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in St. John’s and is open to the pub­lic.

Com­pass file photo

Epiphany El­e­men­tary in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton.

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