Calgary Herald

CBE trustees vote to close Montgomery School

‘This is such a dehumanizi­ng process’

- Sean MyerS smyers@CalgaryHer­ald.Com

The Montgomery School will close at the end of the current school year. Calgary Board of Education trustees voted to close the junior high school during their regular meeting Tuesday due to under utilizatio­n, with a projected enrolment of 176 in September despite a capacity of 765.

Parents say the are frustrated after the board seemed to give assurances that the school would remain open last spring.

“In June, they assured us this wasn’t going to happen,” said Marilyn Wannamaker, who has a daughter who started Grade 7 at the school this year.

“I would’ve put my daughter in F.E. Osborne in the first place.

“But they had to show the government that they went through their process first. This is such a dehumanizi­ng process.”

Two summers ago the board replaced the windows at the school and some parents thought the investment in the building and talk from board officials suggesting they weren’t looking to close it meant it would remain open.

But in October, two weeks after the school raised $66,000 at a casino night, the board told the parent council the school was being looked at for possible closured due to low enrolment.

“When you get into a small school it’s great for some things, it’s not so great for others,” said Judy Van Horne, chairwoman of the school’s parent council.

“You look at the other junior highs in the area that have 500 or 600 stu- dents in them and they’ve got such a variety of compliment­ary courses that it’s a great experience to access all that. But a small school is good for getting to know all the kids and for teachers to follow through. It’s sort of like family.”

Many of the students at Montgomery are currently bused in from Silver Springs.

Those students and kids who live in Montgomery will attend F.E. Osborne School in September. The Paced Learning program will also move there, while the Learning and Literacy classes will move to Simon Fraser School.

“The core issue was the low enrol- ment and the projected low enrolment into the future,” said public trustee chairwoman Pat Cochrane. “And knowing that there are other schools in the area that are not too far away that students can go to.

“It’s one of those really, really tough decisions to say that we think that a local school needs to close.”

The school board decided last month to close the regular program at Robert Warren junior high school at the end of June and is currently considerin­g closing the regular program at Mayland Heights Elementary School.

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