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Fate of Pictou schools could be determined April 5

Pictou Academy
Pictou Academy

The fate of schools in Pictou could be determined as early as next week.

A special board meeting of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board will be held on Wednesday, April 5, beginning at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Cobequid Educational Centre, 34 Lorne St., Truro.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow board members time to ask questions, discuss and debate the information provided to them in both the report and recommendation of the School Options Committee, and the staff technical report, related to the Northwestern Pictou County School Review Process.

Both the SOC report and recommendation, and staff technical report were presented to the governing board at a special board meeting at Pictou Elementary School on March 27.

The SOC is recommending that a new P-12 school be built in the town, however, it also listed a second option of using Pictou Elementary as P-5 and Dr. Thomas McCulloch School for grades 6-12.

The technical report says the terms of reference in the school review process rule out the option of building a new P-12 in the town, but the SOC’s second option is viable as long as long as changes were made in the grade configurations to P-8 and 9-12.

The school review process started in the fall after CCRSB staff made three recommendations that all included grade 9-12 students going to Northumberland Regional High School.

The technical report states that making Pictou Elementary School a P-8 and moving grades 9-12 to NRHS is the best option, but at this point, provincial legislation will prevent that from happening.

The CCRSB technical report states that if the school board accepts the recommendation to have grades P-8 at Pictou Elementary and 9-12 at McCulloch, it could be done as early as September 2017. Dr. Thomas McCulloch School could be renamed Pictou Academy in accordance with the legislation and the existing Academy would be returned to the town.

According to a release from the school board, board members may choose on April 5 to move into a committee-of-the-whole meeting to thoroughly explore any questions prior to making a decision. Should the governing board members agree, following their discussion, that they feel prepared to make a decision, the committee-of-the-whole meeting may return to the special board meeting. Once in session of a special board meeting, members would be in a position to make a final decision.

Both the special board meeting and the committee-of-the-whole meeting (should board members move into this session) are open to the public.

If members do not feel, following debate and discussion during the committee-of-the-whole, that it is possible to make a decision on the evening of April 5, another special board meeting will be scheduled for April 11. The time and location of that meeting will be broadly communicated should it be necessary.

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