Nfld. & Labrador

School board won't close Swift Current Academy

The Eastern School District is offering a new plan to keep Swift Current's school open for students in kindergarten through Grade 9.
School board changes mind on shutting down school, reports Zach Goudie 2:47

Parents in Swift Current have won a partial reprieve in the fight to keep their local school, as Newfoundland and Labrador's largest school board have changed tack on a reorganization plan.

The Eastern School District had proposed shutting down Swift Current Academy and sending its K-12 students to Clarenville about 55 kilometres away.

Many Swift Current parents protested the Eastern School Board's proposal to shut down the local school and bus students schools 50 km away.

At a meeting Wednesday night, the board amended a motion to close the school while offering a new plan to keep the school open for students in kindergarten to Grade 9. 

The decision was reached on the same day CBC News aired a report in which a number of Swift Current students were taken on a test run of the proposed school bus route.

Many of the children were bored, restless and unable to stay awake during the drive.

"He's just too young," said Robin Crocker, whose son is starting kindergarten in the fall.

"He's only going be five years old. He's going to be tired and I'm afraid he's not going to be able to eat first thing in the morning so he's going to be hungry."

Parents brought those concerns and more along to the school board meeting Wednesday night in Shoal Harbour.

The motion to close Swift Current Academy was supposed to be put forward, but the school board backed down instead.

"We felt that we should listen to the parents, we should listen to all the stakeholders," said Milton Peach, president and chair of the Eastern School District. 

"Probably we could do a reconfiguration in Swift Current rather than close the school. So we decided to put forward a notice of motion which would see Swift Current become a K to [Grade] 9 school."

Grade 10 to 12 students would be bused to Clarenville High School as originally planned.

Many parents and students had objected to the first proposal, saying the drive, which can take as long as an hour, is too long for children.

The board will hold a public meeting on Nov. 27 before making its final decision.