Complaining won’t fix the situation

Recently I attended a public consultation meeting out in Port Edward regarding the possible closure of the only educational facility in the district and was very aggravated with the attitudes of a number of people in attendance.

Recently I attended a public consultation meeting out in Port Edward regarding the possible closure of the only educational facility in the district and was very aggravated with the attitudes of a number of people in attendance.

It seemed to me like a lot of these people were angry at what they thought the school board was doing rather than what it actually is doing.

Although I completely understand why parents and members of the Port Edward community are so upset with the school district, it frustrates me to hear people be so rough on board members and have such lack of understanding as to why Port Edward’s school is under the chopping block. It’s nothing personal against Port Edward, it simply is one of the only options the board has.

When the school board is looking into closing a school, they must look at a number of aspects – many of which are working against Port Edward Elementary School’s favor.

One of these aspects includes the fact that there are currently under 50 students attending the school. By leaving the school open, money would be taken away from other, larger schools and their students. Another aspect includes the fact that the current school’s building is older and will most likely be in need of a significant amount of repairs over the next decade.

I’ve heard at several different meetings from members of the public that they feel the school board does not want Port Ed’s current school to remain open, and that the board doesn’t care. I find this completely untrue. If the board really did not want to see a school in Port Edward, they would have closed the school this year rather than possibly next year.

Why didn’t they? So Port Edward would have more time to come up with a solution.

To people saying the board doesn’t care about closing the school; Why then would each and every member of the board come to a public meeting in Port Edward to listen to concerns and comments? Come on people. I know you’re frustrated, but let’s not be too rash.

There is no doubt in my mind that the announcement of a possible closure of Port Edward’s school ticked off the district’s council members. How could it not? Closing the school would have a number of negative effects on the community, and its citizens.

Council members were given an option from the school board, and that was to do everything they possible can to keep a school in the community, and they have done just that. Port Ed’s council has drawn up a plan for a new school that would prospectively be added onto the community centre. This school would have three classrooms and a library that the whole community could utilize. In my opinion, instead of people wasting their time feeling angry and reiterating points to the school board members, points that they are already aware of, people should put all that energy into educating others about the importance of voting in favor of the May 7 referendum and ensuring a school stays in the

district.

Although this referendum would not prevent the current school from closing, it would go towards building a new, more appropriate sized school for the district. This would potentially avoid every issue people have with the closure of the school, and keep an educational facility in the district. Doesn’t that make a lot more sense than complaining about the current

situation?

I understand that voting in favor of borrowing two million dollars seems steep and unfair for taxpayers, but in reality it’s not all that bad. Port Ed council members have ensured that if the referendum passes, there would not be a large increase in taxes; even recently further lowering the amount to help change people’s minds. Council says they received around eight million dollars in grants from various groups to help them in past projects, adding that this would likely be the case for the school.

Though Port Edward’s current school is not completely labeled as closed, it does seem like the most likely way things will turn out. If people really want to avoid the elimination of a school in Port Edward they need to stop putting blame and frustrations on the school district and need to start supporting their community’s council members in ensuring that the May 7 referendum passes.