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