Rainbow board wants new meeting on Espanola schools
Long-term sustainability for education in Espanola at stake, trustee says
The Rainbow District School Board wants another public meeting on the future of education in Espanola — with all three boards in the same room.
The three school boards in the small town each held simultaneous, separate meetings last week at the urging of the province, after it received three requests for money to build or renovate schools in Espanola.
The three school boards include Huron-Superior Catholic, Rainbow, and Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario.
On Tuesday night, Rainbow board trustees voted to ask the province to stage another meeting — with officials from all three boards, plus the ministry of education — explaining the situation to parents.
Trustee Dena Morrison brought the idea forward.
"I don't even know what was being said at the other two meetings,” she said.
“I'm not sure they know what was being said in our meeting. What this is all about at the end of the day is long-term sustainability for education in Espanola."
Parents were texting each other to find out what was being said in each meeting.
Morrison said it was a bad way to show that the boards are working together in Espanola.
"I know because I'm on the inside that we are working together,” she continued.
“But if I'm standing on the outside it again looks like people protecting turf. We have to get past that. And we have to say with a collective voice 'No, that's not what we're doing’.''
But Rainbow board trustee Robert Kirwan said he wants to go ahead without the two other school boards. He's pushing for the Rainbow board to use its own money to move its elementary kids into Espanola high school, and let the Catholic boards sort out their own problems.
The province has asked the three school boards in Espanola to work together after getting three different requests for money to either renovate schools or build new ones in the small town.
"Well, we're responsible for the Rainbow District School Board kids,” he said.
“That's who we got elected to take care of. If we can afford it and it's not too expensive, let's do it. Don't wait."
Kirwan's motion will be considered at next month's meeting of the Rainbow school board.