People in Trinity Bay North say they aren't going to lose their local elementary school without a fight.

The Eastern School District announced last week that it's looking at closing five rural schools, including Catalina Elementary.

Parent Tom Cooper said about 275 people attended a meeting on Monday night to discuss the issue and to develop a game plan.

'The population of the school right now is higher than what the school board has actually predicted in its past predictions.'—Tom Cooper

"People are baffled because they can't understand the rationale that the school board is using to close Catalina Elementary," he said.

"They've listed in the report some of the considerations that they've used for the entire multi-year plan … but they haven't given any specific reasons why they're closing any particular school." 

Cooper said the kindergarten to Grade 8 school currently has 139 students. He said while enrolment is currently down, like most rural schools in the province, the local population is stabilizing.

"The population of the school right now is higher than what the school board has actually predicted in its past predictions," he said.

"There are new children in the area; there are parents actually having babies in the area."

'A large part of our community'

Cooper said Catalina Elementary is one of the newest schools on the Bonavista Peninsula — well-maintained and equipped. The community also recently raised money to build a new soccer field next to the school.

"We want to keep this school. We want to keep it running as it is. It's a model school," Cooper said.

"The children are doing well academically, they're doing well socially, they're a large part of our community, and we have a lot of community volunteers who spend their time there."

The group has planned to talk to school board trustees and MHAs to get some answers.

"We feel as parents that the school board should be coming to us as a group and saying: 'This is the issue, these are the solutions, and this is why we're doing this.' But we don't feel that's the case," Cooper said.

"We feel that we're being railroaded, this is being done behind the scenes, and it's trying to be rushed through without the proper consultation. And we think it's being done without the best interest of the children in mind."

The board will make its final decision on the closure in December.