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

The Compass - - Classified - Edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

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