GECDSB Denies Harrow Appeal

Hundreds attend a GECDSB public input session at Harrow District High School on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

The committee put together to save Harrow High School has once again asked the Greater Essex County District School Board to reconsider their decision on closing the school, but the request has once again seemingly fallen on deaf ears.

The request made at Tuesday’s board meeting was looking for a councilor who previously voted for closing the school to change their mind and advocate for opening the school up again. The motion to rescind the decision was not made, but officials say this is not the end of the committee.

Chair of the committee to reopen Harrow High, Rebecca Robinson, says the decision is disappointing and a lot of the community feels the same way.
“The community is frustrated because they have been willing to support and have been a part of this process for so many years. It seems it’s been neglected,” says Robinson. “So, it’s important for the community that they are heard.”

Essex councillor Sherry Bondy is in favour of the school staying opened and has been working alongside the committee to see that the school stays open. She says the town is looking to partner with the school board in order to find solutions to make this happen.

“We would like more time to work with the board in terms of upping enrollment, with programs and finances,” said Bondy. “That’s what we’ve put forward. Unfortunately, no one brought it up in the notice of motion section.”

Bondy says the town has gotten together with Essex council and discussed what they would need to pay to keep the school open. According to Bondy, they have not received anything back from board regarding this.

“We need closure and we’re not satisfied with the answer,” says Bondy. “For Harrow and for Colchester and the surrounding areas, they’re going to hurt if Harrow high school closes. All around, every single angle you look at it, closing Harrow high school has a negative impact on our community.”

Superintendent of education Todd Awender says the decision of the closure is moving forward and they are consulting with students about their courses next year in new schools.
“I don’t know what their intentions are right now but as far as the board goes the school has been closed,” says Awender.

Awender says the students will benefit from the new schools in terms of courses.

“There going to have a much larger selection,” says Awender. “With a larger number of students in a school, there are more opportunities that are offered.”

Although the board has not shown interest in rescinding their decision, the committee to save Harrow high school says they will stay active and keep trying.