Bluewater Board Asked To Slow Down Accommodation Review

Bluewater District School Board public meeting, Tuesday, February 28, 2017. (photo by Kirk Scott)

People in the Paisley-Chesley area say it’s time Bluewater District School Board trustees stood up to the province.

The board office in Chesley was packed Tuesday night as local residents made their concerns known about a board staff report on accommodation reviews. It was the final chance make submissions, and 14 people did so.

Staff recommend that Paisley Central School close in 2018. Grade 9-12 students at Chesley District Community School would be moved to other schools and it would become a JK to Grade 8 school, also in 2018.  The secondary program at Chesley District would end in June of 2017.

Board funding depends on the provincial funding formula based on enrolment, and that’s declining.

Paisley parent Alicia Gibbons says the funding formula is flawed and Bluewater trustees can take a stand. She says closing schools is not the answer.

“The Bluewater Board has a really great opportunity to redeem themselves, to redeem their name, there’s a sense of un-trust right now, there’s people that don’t trust that next year or the year after they’re gonna be sent into a review. Make a stand and say… no more,” says Gibbons.

Paisley resident Dale Buhr is reminding trustees that they make the decisions, not board staff.

“I ask them to remember who elected them which was us and that we don’t support the staff recommendations and that the board staff works for them not the other way around,” he says.

Many of those making submission say projections of declining enrolment do not take into consideration thousands of new jobs coming to Bruce Power.  They want the board to at least slow down the whole process.

Bluewater board staff will submit their final recommendations in March and trustees are to make final decisions in April.