Nova Scotia

5 Halifax-area schools face axe

The Halifax Regional School Board will review five schools for possible closure, though 12 were on a preliminary list.

No South Shore schools for review

The Halifax Regional School Board will review five schools for possible closure, though staff recommended a total of 12.

The five schools are in Dartmouth, Lower Sackville and Spryfield. More than 100 parents showed up Wednesday to hear the board announce which schools would face the axe.

"Anytime you're talking about the potential closure of schools, there is a lot of emotion," board chair Irvine Carvery told CBC News on Thursday.

5 schools to be reviewed:

South Woodside Elementary (Dartmouth)

Prince Arthur Junior High (Dartmouth)

Central Spryfield Elementary

Sackville Centennial Elementary

Gertrude Parker Elementary (Lower Sackville)

7 schools spared:

Atlantic Memorial-Terence Bay Elementary

Atlantic View Elementary (Lawrencetown)

Caudle Park Elementary (Lower Sackville)

Hillside Park Elementary (Lower Sackville)

Sambro Elementary

St. Joseph's-Alexander McKay Elementary (Halifax)

Upper Musquodoboit Consolidated Elementary

Carvery said the board doesn't have the money to continue operating as it has. Enrolment is dropping at some schools, he noted, and some have extra room.

The two Dartmouth schools on the list — South Woodside Elementary and Prince Arthur Junior High — are in an area where a new school will be built.

Carvery said Sackville Centennial Elementary and Gertrude Parker Elementary just don't have the numbers anymore.

"In the 1970s, Sackville just boomed and schools were built to accommodate the boom. In today's climate, unfortunately those students aren't there," he said.

Board member Sheryl Blumenthal Harrison is disappointed that any schools are up for review.

"I don't want to see $300,000 more wasted to put all these schools up for review when it can go back into the classroom and help further our education," she said Wednesday night.

Seven schools were granted a reprieve.

Upper Musquodoboit Consolidated Elementary was facing review. But Carvery said it didn't make sense to close the only school in the community.

Parent Glenn Lefchak couldn't wait to call his wife and children to tell them Atlantic View Elementary in Lawrencetown wouldn't be reviewed.

"I know as we speak the whole community is going to be finding out in different forms, and everybody's pretty much going to be having a party about this. This is big news for us," said Lefchak.

School board staff will review the five schools over the next year. It will then be up to the board to decide if any of those schools will close.

Carvery said the board will continue to look for ways to cut administrative costs.

"We made all the cuts to the administration that we can," he said.

Meanwhile, the South Shore Regional School Board decided it wouldn't review any of the 12 schools on its preliminary list.

Board chair Elliott Payzant said people made it clear they wanted the board to cope with cuts in provincial funding in other ways than closing schools.