‘Everything Was Planned Out Behind Our Backs’

GECDSB Director of Education Erin Kelly attends the December 10, 2014 public board meeting. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Essex Councillor Sherry Bondy is calling out the public school board, and provincial officials over Kingsville’s new $44-million school.

Sherry Bondy says the timing is suspicious, while the director of education at the Greater Essex County School Board says it was completely above board.

Citing the announcement in October that Harrow High School would close, she says “We all know how slow governments work and to make that announcement so fast, my gut feeling is saying things had to be in the works.

“We have been working so hard to try to make a difference, and all along everything was planned out behind our backs.”

Director of Education Erin Kelly refutes that saying, “December 16, we received a memo from the Ministry [of Education] requesting business cases. In February,┬áthe board ordered that those business cases get submitted to the ministry.”

Bondy also says there’s anxiety in the town now about the future of Harrow Public School.

“Everybody is really worried now,” says Bondy. “It’s one thing to close a high school but to come back and close a grade school, where all of our students will be bussed out of our community; that’s just very devastating.”

In response, Essex town council has voted to ask the public school board to sign a guarantee it won’t close Harrow Public School for at least 25 years. Kelly says she can’t make that guarantee without a vote by the trustees, but there are no plans to close Harrow Public School.