Friday, December 01, 2006

They're closing our schools again

Here's the story.

Six years ago we neighbours fought to keep our little elementary school open. With fewer than 200 students and a yawning quarter-empty bigger school a couple of blocks away, it was a tough sell. We held meetings, got kids to make art, posted lawn signs, had a pajama party on the radio, got testimonials from realtors and educators, parents and kids and successfully made our case to the Board of School Trustees. The victory was bittersweet as 3 other schools were closed, at least one in a neighbourhood where I think the impact on families was worse, due to its comparitive isolation. We also realised that money to run a greater number of partly-full schools took away from funds for teaching and other resources.

When the decision was announced to keep our school open a few years ago, the Trustees cautioned us that they would not re-open the issue every year, but that it would be re-visited in the future. The tentative plan was to leave it open for at least one whole student cycle. A child in kindergarten at the time of the decision would be able to carry on through grade 5 before closure would be re-considered. We have almost made it. The re-opening of the issue is no surprise.

Here's our little school.

A school is more than a place where kids go from 9-3 to learn academic subjects. As we clarified to ourselves last time, it's the heart of a community for families with children. Our social and volunteer lives are anchored in the school, as is a big part of our sense of security in guiding our children and our growing up families. It's hard to imagine letting our school go, and moving into a new, unknown school with people we don't know.

Alex and Fi have left that little school for the middle and secondary schools, but many of our friends still have children there. I'll do my best to support the efforts underway to try to keep it open, but it doesn't look as hopeful this time.

question: what have you loved and feared losing?

mompoet - sad about this

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