School closure dates to be voted on next week

Published on June 5, 2014

TRURO – A decision on whether or not to extend the life of three area schools will be made next week.

The Chignecto-Central Regional School Board will vote whether to extend the closure date of Maitland District and Wentworth Consolidated elementary schools and River John Consolidated School from June 2015 to June 2016 during next Wednesday’s monthly school board meeting. The meeting will be at Northport Consolidated School in Cumberland County at 7 p.m.

The topic is being debated because Education Minister Karen Casey requested the board consider the change to give communities and the government more time to look at possible hub/community centre uses within the schools.

Some of the concerns the public has voiced include longer bus times if students have to leave their school due to closure to go to another site. Truro board member Susan MacQuarrie said “elementary kids being on a bus for an hour bothers me.”

School board superintendent Gary Clarke said the board has guidelines that students are not to be on a bus for more than an hour.

“Some will be on (the bus) longer than they are now, some will be on less (time) than they are now,” added director of operations Herb Steeves.

West Pictou board member Vivian Farrell said communities have worked hard to investigate how hub centres could work at their sites and they deserve the extension.

“The least we can do is extend (the date)… let’s be daring and creative,” Farrell said.

Clarke reiterated next week’s motion to reconsider early closure dates must include thought to safety, compatible use and revenue generation if the schools were to extend their life.

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