For those who haven't met it, PCVS is the city's historic high school Built turn of the century ish, like many other schools across Ontario that have the CVS or CI to their names. In the heart of the city, surrounded by heritage buildings of a similar ilk. Home to a Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB specialty arts program that accepts students from the PCVS attendance area and from across the district after an entrance exam/evaluation of sorts. There is (or was) a school like PCVS in every city and larger town like Peterborough in this province.
Through my former camping career, I've had the honour of getting to know a few Peterborough families, most of whose children either attended or currently attend PCVS.
The school -- along with three others in the city -- was involved in a closure review. The numerical reality of life is that there aren't enough school aged students in Peterborough to support full programming, etc., at four schools. While the early bets, and committee report, suggested another school would close when it came time for trustees to vote they voted to close PCVS.
So the campaign -- not really in high gear during the accommodation review because, c'mon, who would close PCVS, after all -- has begun.
These clips are from the Examiner, although I'm sure Peterborough This Week's coverage has been similar.
- PCVS supporters plot school closure appeal
- PCVS school council not blocked from holding regular school council meetings at PCVS
- City council to debate action to take on PCVS closure
- Riel doesn't think appeal will change PCVS decision
- Riel, Parnell opposed as city council backs call for review of PCVS closure decision
In that sense, Coun. Riel was absolutely correct in earlier coverage linked above when he says it's all hot air for council to support or not support the petition since it won't change the result. I was also intrigued by his comments to council on what students are saying about the PCVS decision on social media.
Interesting also as he was the councillor on the accommodation review committee that looked at the four high schools and recommended (under a shotgun process he called flawed) closing one high school but not making any recommendation to trustees on which one should close. I have no doubts in my skeptical mind that if the board had chosen to close the high school in his ward instead of PCVS that Riel would be one of the ones leading the parade.
Anyway, regardless of all that.
Anyone drawn to this post involved in the PCVS campaign, please hit accommodation reviews in the labels box on the left and spend some time reading coverage of other reviews, other petitions to the ministry. Not one petition to the minister (or even judicial review) to review the process used for a school closure under the province's pupil accommodation review guidelines has resulted in overturning a school board's original decision. Not one.
Spend some time in particular looking at what happened in Niagara-on-the-Lake and that town's futile efforts after a District School Board of Niagara decision to close Niagara District Secondary School.
Peterborough is now treading down a road that many, many other communities have already tread. I know, maybe you weren't really paying attention at the time because it wasn't in your backyard yet. Well, now it's been in your backyard and there might be an opportunity to realize what lies ahead.
I don't think anything the save PCVS crew does will change this decision of the school board. Despite there being a new minister, etc. etc., the process won't change for the time being.
As I mentioned in an earlier comment on the last post, I would urge some contemplation of where energies are best allocated (somewhat tying into what Riel had to say). The programs and people are what makes a school like PCVS tick. What gives it is substance. The bricks and mortar can add character, but without the people and programs they don't do it alone.
So what are you going to fight to the end of days for? To keep the programs alive, healthy, sustainable and fully funded and enrolled? Or to save the building?
You can yell and scream that the process is flawed, but it's the process that exists and it can, rarely, net recommendations that school boards can support in their entirety. Just imagine, under a different government, under previous guidelines, whether the decision would have been as consultative and whether the end result would have been the same.