Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not the status quo in the Haliburton Highlands

Bancroft This Week ran a story today showing the recommendations of a review of elementary schools, with a recommendation two schools remain open but change organization. One would become an early years / primary division school (JK-3) with the other handling the two communities' junior and intermediate panel students (Gr.4-8).
Their only rules were that they couldn’t keep the status quo, they couldn’t build a new school and they couldn’t move the school board’s boundaries.
In order to increase the number of students – making double, not triple grades – Wilberforce students who would have previously gone to J.D. Hodgson Elementary School in Haliburton for Grades 7 and 8 would stay in Highlands East.
“What that means is that you can have double grades and no more than double grades all the way to Grade 8,” (outgoing Trilliam Lakelands DSB dir of ed Kathy) Verduyn said.
In the end, the three possible scenarios the PARC had to choose from were to use both schools with a different composition, keep Wilberforce open or keep Cardiff open.
The committee made its decision by secret ballot, originally arriving at four votes for both schools while the other four votes were undisclosed. 
Trustees will face the presentation on this recommended option later this year, with a vote on the matter likely early in the new year. Yet another example of how communities have responded to the challenge of accepting recommendations that do not include the status quo, recognizing the need to change their schools' setup for program, organization and staffing benefits.