The program and accommodation report released by the senior staff of the Limestone District School Board last Thursday missed addressing an important minority report. The North PARC committee, which reviewed Kingston’s five elementary schools north of Princess Street, submitted their report in June. It included two main recommendations and a third viable option attached as an official minority report. For the high-school PARC, senior staff addressed all of the options, including that PARC’s minority report. For some reason, staff chose not to do this in their elementary school report. Their intentions for disregarding this third recommendation is left to speculation.
The excluded minority report highlights the importance of a detailed examination of all five schools and the need for the board to find partnerships that will keep schools open. The senior staff report last Thursday stated that they would seek partnerships within the Wally Elmer community to keep Rideau Heights and J.G. Simcoe open. However, in another section of the report they contradicted themselves by stating that partnerships were not viable ways to keep schools open. Lastly, the disregarded minority report emphasized the need to re-examine some of the other options that were discussed briefly by the committee, which proponents felt would provide more financial savings, cause less student disruption and ultimately address all of the board’s mandate.
“Our committee, and community, took the time to develop an additional report looking at all of the variables, and it is disheartening to see that the board staff just disregarded it. We thought taxpayer opinions were an important part of this process,” says Susan Walker, retired teacher and North Kingston PARC Committee member.
During the public meetings, the PARC committee heard from a significant number of residents and taxpayers about their concern about closing North End schools. The PARC committee included three parents, the principal, a teacher, and a support person from each school. A handful of trustees and Limestone staff attended the meetings as well, but the majority of trustees were not present to hear the validity of all of the options. Today, they are inundated with voluminous meeting minutes, potentially setting them up to miss or disregard vital information – like the minority report.
For more information contact: Susan Walker, 613-530-2654, [email protected]