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Feb 28,2007 - Now News


By Simone Blais - Staff Reporter

Despite the impassioned pleas of parents and students last week, School District 43 staff have recommended seven of eight schools close June 30.

College Park, Coronation Park, Lincoln, Meadowbrook, Millside, Mountain View and Vanier elementaries have been recommended for closure by senior administrative staff.

Trustees were expected to vote last night (Tuesday) on the recommendations. The result of that vote was not available by NOW deadlines.

Staff recommendations - released publicly on Monday after school trustees reviewed them on Friday - spared one school on the closure list. Moody Elementary was recommended to remain open, although the staff report suggests the school's student enrolment and related information be reviewed once the City of Port Moody finishes its official community plan (OCP) review and update in the fall of 2008.

According to staff, the OCP review will impact the Moody Centre area and any changes could affect the future utilization rates of Moody Elementary.

Two other schools had specific recommendations in addition to being listed to close.

Staff are recommending trustees consider using College Park to house students from neighbouring Seaview Elementary, as Seaview undergoes seismic upgrades, scheduled to begin next fall.

Reece Harding, College Park's school closure committee chair, said using his school while Seaview gets an upgrade is tantamount to "turning College Park into a portable for Seaview," adding the district's "lack of communication on this recommendation cements our profound disappointment with this process.

"The concept of using College Park to solve the seismic issue at Seaview could not have just arisen. If school district senior staff had this idea during the consultation process and did not discuss it with the College Park residents during our meetings, that is simply not fair," he wrote in an open letter to staff and trustees. "Also, what about the Seaview community? Why were they not consulted? How will this affect their programs, senior staff, parents, children?

"(The school district is) potentially disrupting two schools and two communities without consulting one of them. The school district's lack of communication on this recommendation cements our profound disappointment with this process."

The other school-specific recommendation concerns Lincoln Elementary. While staff recommended closing the school, the report recommended that bus transportation be provided during the 2007-2008 school year while Victoria Drive undergoes construction.

published on 02/28/2007

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