If an ARC is struck, it's pretty difficult to sell a business partnership plan if your side of the partnership is potentially slated for closure," (Janet Kinsey) said, after trustees made their decision.Kinsey is 100% right.
(Janet's son) Ben was happy Wilson's motion passed.
"They listened to what we said. They're at least trying to attempt partnerships," he said, adding he wasn't surprised the motion to strike the ARC passed, with only Wilson opposing it.
Kinsey and other students aren't giving up, however.
"We are definitely open to doing more and are willing to keep going. We're not going to just go away," he said. "When the ARC comes to pass, we'll definitely be looking into things to do and becoming involved with the process."
The school board's number one priority in its 2008 budget was rebuilding the high school but funding from the Ministry of Education was not forthcoming.
"They let us down," Wilson said. "Last year, it was our vision to seek funding to rebuild Barrie Central. The ministry said, 'You need to look at your problem differently'. They are telling us where it is acceptable to build a new school."
When the first application to rebuild Barrie Central was made, there were partnerships that weren't investigated, she added.
She is fearful the newly struck ARC will not address potential partnerships quickly enough.
"At what stage of the ARC will it start talking about partnerships?" she asked, adding that with the ARC process, it could be eight or nine months before partnerships are explored. "We owe it to the community to open up discussions now."
Start the discussions NOW. Don't wait for the review committee's organizational meeting. School supporters' next stop should be at the next available Barrie city council meeting, where a possible message to council could be that the school needs council's participation and support on the review committee. Not a London-style "we want no part of this" response, or a "please stop the process" request a la Community Schools Alliance and Huron County.
The school's supporters need to have the intestinal fortitude to work on presenting options that don't have a 100% chance of being accepted when the day for a trustee vote comes along. If they can't find that sort of willing support among Barrie's political and business community, then the 'battle,' as it were, is already lost.
I will note, in closing, this was the same board that has postponed a decision on a five-school review in northwest Simcoe County because it felt it wouldn't be fair to burden the next term's trustees with the outcome. Given review time lines, this Barrie review won't conclude before December, but it's another huge decision for the new crop of trustees.