Bedford South School will remain a P-9 next year, the Halifax Regional School Board decided Wednesday evening.

In a rare reversal by the board, members voted to re-visit an earlier decision that would have turned Bedford South into an elementary school and sent the older students to Charles P. Allen High School.

boundary review started in September 2011 found Bedford South was built to hold 540 students, but had 721 pupils. It used three portable classrooms to hold the excess students. The board hoped splitting the school would address overcrowding.

Dozens of parents of Bedford South students showed up at the meeting Wednesday to argue the school should not be divided. They walked away pleased with the outcome.

'I felt that we erred'

Although a decision had already been made to split the school to avoid empty classrooms in some buildings while others used portable classes, the board changed its mind and voted to maintain the status quo.

Sheryl Blumenthal-Harrison is one of two members who asked to re-visit the decision.

"I didn't think we had all the information and I think too quick of a judgment was made. And I felt that we erred. We didn't listen to what the community wanted," she said.

The overcrowding issue resolved itself, as fewer students will be attending Bedford South next year and staff said there will be enough room for everyone in 2012-13.

Parents spoke passionately about the school's tight-knit community. Carole Moore says it has allowed her four children to grow and develop in one place over time.

"I think that the junior highs are in such a fragile state with their self esteem. It's nice for them to be big fishes in small ponds for a little while longer," she said.

Keeping the school open will also mean less time on the bus for many students.

HRSB staff will now re-examine the entire boundary review.