New school year, same questions

August 16, 2018 at 10:53 am

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With a new school year right around the corner, Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage MLA Barbara Adams says the fate of two high schools are still top of mind for students, teachers and parents from her Cole Harbour – Eastern Passage constituency and surrounding areas.

A review of two high schools, Auburn High School and Cole Harbour District High Schools and feeder schools was halted days before completion in July 2017 by Education Minister Zach Churchill. Adams says she has raised this issue multiple times with the Education Minister throughout the year and the Minister had given no direct answers in the Legislature.

“Cancelling the release of the School Board Report at the 11th hour was so disrespectful to everyone who participated in the process and to all students and teachers who are affected,” says Adams. “That was over a year ago and the Minister has refused to give a deadline on when his report on the fate of the schools will be available.”

Though all three schools are set to open this fall, the new Eastern Passage Island View High School will not offer the IB program or vocational training. 15-year-old Evan Colclough, an Eastern Passage Grade 10 student, who wants to take the IB program, says he personally contacted the Minister to try to get answers but received no response. Peters will have to attend Cole Harbour High as an out-of-area student.

“I feel like I am being punished for wanting to be in the IB program,” says Peters. “This is an issue that affects thousands of students, teachers and parents. We deserve answers.”

Charity Stairs has two children attending the IB program at Cole Harbour District High School. She has concerns about all the unanswered questions with the fate of the two Cole Harbour High Schools including any potential closures and challenges in figuring out transportation.

“Not knowing where my children will go to school, what the class sizes will be like, and trying to manage transportation has been very stressful for us,” says Stairs.

Last week, Adams sent another letter to Minister Churchill and Superintendent Elwin Leroux, requesting that immediate answers are given regarding the schools. Elwin Leroux referred Barbara back to the Minister saying that he had no information to share.

“For 14 months, Minister Churchill had been skirting this issue. I have asked him time and time again to let the affected families, teachers and business owners know what his plan is for these schools,” Adams said.  “He has always had an excuse to push it aside,” says Adams.

Adams says she looks forward to the fall session in the Legislature when she will once again call on Minister Churchill to provide her constituents with the answers they deserve.