Future of schools needs to be addressed sooner than later: Houston

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WESTVILLE - A growing chorus of concern over the future of two middle schools in the Pictou East area needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, says Pictou East Progressive Conservative candidate Tim Houston.

He says the possible closure of Highland Consolidated School in Westville and the East Pictou Middle School is creating worry and frustration for both students and parents including himself.

“We need to know what the near term future holds for our children. As a parent I know firsthand the range of emotions these school issues are causing,” he said.

Westville Middle School students are taking classes at the Dr. W.A. MacLeod School in Riverton while authorities determine how to address problems – including mold - at their school.

He said they are travelling to classes with heavy book bags because there is no access to lockers. They are bussed to another school for gym classes because of gym limitations at the MacLeod School.  Houston questions why a long term solution for the students of the Westville school hasn’t been communicated yet.

At East Pictou, students in Grade 6 at Frank H. MacDonald face the prospect of attending East Pictou for Grade 7, New Glasgow Junior High for Grade 8 and then on to the North Nova Education Center for Grade 9.

“Four different schools in four years can’t be considered a possible solution,” he said

The school board has said that if there is a school closure at East Pictou it won’t happen for several years, however.

Houston said he can’t understand how the province can spend tens of millions of dollars on corporate bailouts and then baulk at investing in kids.

“These young people are more than financial numbers on a piece of paper.  We need to be extremely conscidus of the very significant impact school closures can have on them,“ Houston said.

Organizations: Westville Middle School, MacLeod School, Highland Consolidated School East Pictou Middle School North Nova Education Center for Grade

Geographic location: Pictou East, WESTVILLE, Riverton New Glasgow

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Recent comments

  • Behind the People
    February 07, 2013 - 09:03

    So Tim Rhude, you have talked with MacKinnon and he is "behind the people"? He is "encouraged" by a citizen coming out? Wow. I was worried he was doing nothing here. Thanks for clearing that up. Houston is also a citizen coming out and rather than sit on his hands, like most politicians, he is actually raising the profile on this issue. Your man MacKinnon's solution of being "behind the people" and "encouraged", let us know when that yields results.

  • Highland
    January 23, 2013 - 19:16

    No Windows, No drinkable water (but water coolers), Long Bus Rides and No hosting your own sport team at the hone school. But... they say this is a good plan.....

  • Full Disclosure
    January 22, 2013 - 18:23

    Such a shame that some resort to games. I am more mature than that. I have voiced my opinion in the matter and I firmly believe we need to move forward and focus on what is important! Yes, let's keep the politics out of it "Political Opportunism". The focus needs to be on the best interest of the children, not the blame game! Hopefully, these school issues will be settled before too long and EVERYONE is speaking up and contacting the appropriate people so we can move this process along with the best results!

  • Concerned Parent
    January 22, 2013 - 13:10

    To "Full Disclosure", do you see the irony in calling for full disclosure from behind a veil of a secret internet alias? If you believe it, be confident enough to say it and attach your name to it. And, thank you, "Political opportunism", we always appreciate hearing from the NDP caucus. These schools are important to us and we expect our elected officials to be in front of these issues, representing our concerns. Thank you Mr. Houston for your courage

    • Tim Rhude
      January 22, 2013 - 16:23

      "Concerned Parent" you should be ashamed of yourself for calling someone couragous - an individual who has little to knowledge of the issue at EPMS. "Full disclosure" is very active in the school system out at East Pictou and is not a member of any political party - just a concerned parent! "Full Disclosure" is in a sensitive position and wants to avoid petty politics side tracking the issue. You should take a moment and realize that stating falsehoods detracts from issue and clouds peoples judgements. If you want to have an opinion you have to make an effort so pull your head out of the sand, get involved like "Full Disclosure" and make sure no one tries to make political hay out of this issue. News is about the facts, truth is absolute and lying is wrong no matter how small you think it is!!

  • Tim Rhude
    January 21, 2013 - 18:45

    I am as concern as the next parent but rather then try and make political hay I am doing something positive. I was at the same meeting as Houston and I was invited to the EPMS study committee that is study two proposals put forth by the school board. Why wasn't Houston? I contacted Gordon Anderson and Clairie Mackinnon both were willing to listen and expressed concern. Plus they both were encouraged by a citizen coming forth try and help and that something long term must be done when EPMS eventually closes - not just another band aid. BY the way this issue should have been addressed when the plans were approved to build the new high schools almost a decade ago - who was in power then - not the NDP!

  • Highland Parent
    January 21, 2013 - 17:24

    This is a concern for many and the answers few. For 9 months a problem has not been determined. At this point a long term solution needs to be put into motion instead the Band-Aid a problem at a time approach. Seems the latter is much more expensive in the long run and much more stressful for students, staff and parents.

  • Political opportunism
    January 21, 2013 - 16:23

    The school board has a process in place and this is nothing more than grandstanding by this political candidate. He thinks he found an issue to rally folks around to raise his profile. To correct Full Disclosure's statement. Taxpayer money did not go to a company he works for ... it went to a company he owns! Back to the issue ... We parents in Pictou East already endorse the notion of a P-8 school in the area of FH MacDonald ... so let that stand as the recommendation coming from our community. Keep politics out of the discussion.

  • Full disclosure
    January 21, 2013 - 15:24

    Let's have the full disclosure here. Not that I want to get into the politics of it all, but it's because of "PREVIOUS" government that we are in this mess! Now we are faced with whatever the school board has put before us. Also, wasn't a large portion of tax payers dollars invested into the business you work for? Now, back to the main objective at hand. We should NOT settle for anything less than the BEST for our children. The education system is already failing them. We are not going to allow them to create less than perfect environments for them to learn in. There needs to be a quick solution for the Highland Consolidated children this "make do" environment is NOT acceptable! As for EPMS, the school is not in the best of shape and in two years will house only two grades. It makes absolutely No sense to keep it open and it definitely is NOT acceptable to divide the children and disperse them to four different schools. We need a P-8 school, whether it be at Frank H( with considerable upgrades!!!!!) or a new school built! We have to move forward, times are changing and our kids need change too! I will settle for nothing but the best for my children, how about you?

  • Cheryl Anderson
    January 21, 2013 - 13:18

    4 schools in 4 years, I would think kids today have enough to worry about. Why isn't the MLA in Pictou East fighting for these kids.

    • Tim Rhude
      January 21, 2013 - 18:33

      I have already talked with him and he is behind the people. You should try calling him instead pumping your gums.

  • Concern Citizen
    January 21, 2013 - 12:26

    I think everyone will agree that the education of our children is an important issue and I was shocked to read the article above as there is no way this disruption is good for the students. The school board owes to the parents to provide a clear message and the government needs to show that it cares about the future of our children by doing the right thing.

  • Shayna
    January 21, 2013 - 08:16

    I wonder how many parents realize that some classrooms have no windows. I find since school started she comes homes and sleeps a couple of hours.

    • Frustrated Parent
      January 21, 2013 - 11:48

      Not to mention they still can't use the water,there has been staff shuffling or lack there of, and because of the close quarters the constant cycle of sickness. Are they really getting their education with all of the issues they face but are told not too worry about?