Suspicious of data
School council members disputes projections for Whitbourne
Two years after Whitbourne Elementary avoided being closed during a massive restructuring of schools in Trinity Conception, school board population projections have some locals riled up.
In an article published in the Nov. 17 print edition of The Compass, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District provided 10-year projection numbers from 2010 to 2020.
Whitbourne Elementary was one of a handful of schools with projected declines in population. The projections were made based on municipal and historical trends and available statistics prior to 2010. Harbour Grace, Perlwin Elementary, Persalvic School and All Hallows Elementary predictions also decreased.
Whitbourne Elementary has 78 students enrolled this year. The projection claims there will be 66 by 2020.
School council member Tony Young was disappointed to see that the projections hadn’t changed, even though the school board opted not to close the school two years ago.
“It was only two years ago we struggled to keep (the school) from closing,” Young told The Compass, noting enrolment was a topic of discussion at the last school council meeting.
Since the influx of work in Long Harbour and Bull Arm – less than an hour from Whitbourne – some people have been commuting. And being less than 45 minutes from St. John’s, logistically, some people see it as the ideal location to live.
But Young doesn’t believe these numbers, job sites or any other possible reason for a population increase were taken into consideration after the projections. He doesn’t believe they are accurate.
“I am passionate about our rural communities,” Young explained. “I want them to grow and by having schools, a medical clinic and other infrastructure supports (in) this direction.”
I want them to grow and by having schools, a medical clinic and other infrastructure supports (in) this direction. Tony Young