Petite Rivière and Pentz Elementary schools to remain open

The South Shore Regional School Board says it won't appeal a judge's decision that threw out the board's 2013 motion to close Petite Rivière Elementary School.

Board won't fight judge's ruling that keeps Petite Rivière and Pentz schools open

Petite Rivière Elementary School has 83 students in grades Primary to 6. (Paige Littlefair/Facebook)

Two schools in the South Shore Regional School Board that had been slated to close will remain open. 

The board says it won't appeal a judge's decision that threw out its 2013 motion to close Petite Rivière Elementary School. The board's motion also included closing nearby Pentz Elementary.

Both schools were scheduled to close at the end of this school year, but now have a reprieve.

Al Sullivan's two children attended Pentz Elementary decades ago, and he still volunteers there.

"I'm the resident grandfather to the 70-odd kids down there, I just love it," he told CBC's Information Morning

"We're ecstatic. We're so very happy for the children at Pentz and also the children at Petite. They're going to be able to continue their education in their own little community."

Sullivan said keeping schools in small communities is good for the area and the kids, who remain close to home.

"These communities are where the children grow up, make their friends and go to school with their friends and move on and it helps attract people to the community," he said.

"If they move into the area and there's a school and they know they could have their kids there it's very important."

The Greater Petite Area Community Association filed for the judicial review in May 2017, challenging the closure motion for Petite Rivière Elementary School. The group argued the closure was approved on the condition a replacement school would be built. No new school is in the pipeline, but the board had refused to revisit the issue.

Pentz wasn't part of the court case and last week the school board said the school would be shuttered.

In a statement released Wednesday, the school board reversed course.

"In light of Justice Christa Brothers' decision to keep Petite Rivière Elementary open, it is only right that Pentz Elementary remain open, as student enrolment, building condition and budget implications are almost identical," said board chair Theresa Griffin.

The decision to keep Pentz Elementary School open marks a change of course for the South Shore Regional School Board. (Google Maps)

Brothers' decision didn't mince words about the board's 2013 motion.

"The board decisions lack clarity and reasonableness," she wrote in a ruling released last week. "Not only was the board confused, seeking legal advice to interpret their own motions, but there was a wider, significant effect on the community. The board created unnecessary uncertainty."

Griffin's statement noted that the board was "very disappointed with the tone" and statements in Brothers' ruling.

With files from Information Morning