Key messages - what should the working group reports say? : LUSENET : Ottawa School Closures : One Thread

October 22
The ad-hoc Community Working Groups must report to the Board of Education by October 30. In the interest of increasing the impact of any one report, a number of people would like to see the different working group reports contain the same key messages.

The following is a working draft of possible key messages for the reports by the community working groups. Feel free to add your comments and criticisms:

Draft Report

There you have it. Please help add to this statement and improve it. Thanks.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 1998


October 27

More thoughts on key messages.

The province is demanding that the school board decide which schools to close within the next two months. If the school board doesn't get rid of the excess pupil spaces above 100 per cent capacity by the end of December, then tough luck, Charlie, that excess gets carried on the books and you don't get any new money for capital construction.

Closing a school requires careful consideration and consultation with all stakeholders. If Joe's restaurant down at the corner wants to build an addition or an outside patio, the public process that is required for a zoning variance is more extensive than what is required before a school is closed. And the effect on a neighbourhood from closing a school, the effect on the children, and their families, is far more traumatic than an extra 15 seats at Joe's. Doesn't closing a school deserve more attention and consultation than adding more tables to a restaurant?

Somehow, we have to get through to the trustees that the province's process, assumptions and deadline are abusive and likely to result in bad decisions if they follow through and decide to close schools within the next few months.

And it's the people in Ottawa that have to live with these decisions. They are long-term decisions. Once a school is closed and the property disposed of, it won't come back. Think twice before you get rid of anything.

Another thought

It is important that submissions to the board appeal to the board member's sense of civic duty and that we not not direct criticism at the board.

What do we all want? To provide a good education system for the community. Is closing down schools downtown going to do this?

Ottawa's much-touted quality of life is due in large part to the existing network of neighbourhood schools and the variety of programs that are offered. It is worth keeping.

It would be nice if this process would get the rural trustees to agree to a unified front with the urban trustees so the Board could tell the province to take a hike. The fight shouldn't be here in Ottawa but with Queen's Park.

-- Anonymous, October 27, 1998

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