Hundreds Attend ARC Meeting In Chesley

ARC Public Meeting at Chesley Community School Tuesday, November 8, 2016. (photo by Kirk Scott)

People in Paisley and Chesley are worried about the future of their communities.

About 200 people appealed to the Bluewater District School Board to keep their schools open in the first Accommodation Review Committee public meeting for the Paisley-Chesley area.  The meeting was at Chesley District Community School.

The accommodation review initial report has Paisley Central School closing in June 2018.  As well, secondary students at Chesley District would go to either Walkerton District or Saugeen District in Port Elgin as of next September. Chesley District would be converted to a JK to Grade 8 school. It’s all due to declining enrolment.

Timothy Ferrier has a child a Chesley District. He says the recommendations lack vision for the future and what’s best for the kids.

“The kids are most important and the quality of the education, not just the bottom numbers are what’s most important to me,” says Ferrier.

Alicia White Gibbons runs a business in Paisley and has two children at Paisley Central.

“I know that shoving a hundred and fifty children into three schools where they barely know anybody isn’t best for them and I look at it from a business perspective and I know that right now Paisley has a viable business sector,” she says. “You take away a school, you take away a community.”

CORRECTION: On November 9, 2016, incorrectly reported that an initial report from an accommodation review would convert Chesley District to a JK to 12 school when in fact the suggestion is converting Chesley District to a JK to 8 school. The correction has now been made in the above article.