The District of Port Edward held a second open house in regards to the potential new elementary school where members of the community could get information and have any questions or concerns they had answered. Unlike the first open house, people in attendance were much more receptive about the idea of the possible new education facility.
At the open house all Port Edward City Council members were in attendance to help explain to locals why voting in favor for the May 7 referendum is important. Council members assured citizens that the referendum, that would allow the district to borrow $2 million for the project, would not mean higher taxes for people. In fact, recently the district lowered the amount of taxes the loan would cost citizens so the cost of the new school would affect them even less. The District of Port Edward also made it clear that if the potential school isn’t built, and the current school is closed down, people would still have to pay for school taxes. School taxes cannot be avoided.
One concern a person in attendance asked about the possibility of the district needing to borrow additional funds on top of the $2 million loan. Port Edward CEO Ron Bedard explained that over the past decade Port Edward City Council’s have no been over budget in past projects, and that if in this case they did go over budget the district would find the means to continue on with the project else where from taxes, mentioning the fact that over the last decade the district has received around $8 million in grants.
Although the $2 million loan would put the district close to $3 million in debt, council members mentioned again that they would probably receive grants, as they commonly do, for the project, as well as the fact that School District 52 would be leasing the property from Port Edward, which would help pay back some of the loan.
Overall people in attendance seemed very pleased with the idea of a new three-classroom school added onto the community centre, with a few people in attendance praising the work council members have done. This is quite a change from previous public meetings and the successful counter-petition that 67 members of the community signed saying they did not want to borrow more money.
If the May 7 referendum is passed, the possible new school would open its doors in either December of 2012, or early 2012.