Whitbourne school supporters file complaint with citizen’s rep
Move comes on heels of case coming before Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal
A committee fighting to prevent the closure of Whitbourne Elementary recently filed an official complaint with the Office of the Citizen’s Representative.
According to a news release issued by the Help Whitbourne Elementary Committee, the complaint focuses on Newfoundland and Labrador English School District’s (NLESD) school review process.
The committee is accusing NLESD of selectively highlighting information and using what it calls “alternative facts” in order to make a case to the board of trustees to support closure.
The committee contends there was no detailed financial cost analysis. It’s also taking to task the actions of the Whitbourne Elementary is scheduled to close this June.
board itself during the review process.
Whitbourne Elementary is
scheduled to close in June, with students from the K-6 school destined for Woodland Elementary in Dildo starting this fall.
“Our committee wants to ensure a school closure review is mandated to consider a detailed financial cost analysis, detailed information on renovation (and) capital improvement costs, impacts upon school communities, and has been scrutinized by other government departments,” the committee wrote in the news release. “Currently, the NLESD has the ability to select, review and close a school with no outside control, with no input from other government departments and with no independent assessment from outside their board.”
The committee suggests other departments, including Children, Seniors and Social Development and Municipal Affairs, should be consulted when a school closure is given consideration for the sake of oversight.
The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal is also set to hear legal arguments about a Supreme Court justice’s decision last summer concerning the school. Supporters of Whitbourne Elementary hope the appeal court will feel differently about the statutory authority of an unelected board of government appointees.
Justice Valerie Marshall decision last summer did give the school a new lease on life, as it was originally due to close last June. She ruled NLESD failed to disclose relevant information in a timely manner. Marshall did, however, believe the unelected board had the authority to vote on the school’s future.