Nova Scotia

Halifax parents plead for schools

Parents in five Halifax-area communities gathered Monday in an effort to save their neighbourhood schools.

Parents in five Halifax-area communities gathered Monday in an effort to save their neighbourhood schools.

The Halifax Regional School Board placed five small schools under review for closure in March because of predicted declining enrolment in the next decade.

The board's impact assessment reports predicted 2012 enrolments of 112 for Central Spryfield, 249 for Gertrude Parker, 370 for Prince Arthur Junior High, 106 for Sackville Centennial, and 164 for South Woodside.

"We're going to prove them wrong. We're going to prove that we're in an area that's going to experience growth, and that to close our schools is not what needs to be done," said parent Gaelyn MacLeod.

She said closing the schools will put her son Connor at risk.

"I know one family coming into the system will have a 2.4-kilometre walk for their child, who's in grade primary, most of it with no sidewalks."

Parent Sari Primeau says small schools provide safer and better learning environments. (CBC)

At Central Spryfield Elementary, Sari Primeau said her 12-year-old son does not want to move to a bigger school.

"Children learn better in small schools. They feel safer in small schools. Central needs to stay open."

Board chair Irvine Carvery said he wants to hear clear reasons why schools should be taken off the review list.

"The only thing we as an elected board hope is that they present a compelling case as to why their school shouldn't be up for review, because we have not in any way at this time made a decision."

Sari Primeau said her fingers are crossed her school will be able to sway the board in their favour.

"We have people coming in from outside that really enjoy our school. They find it warm and inviting and welcoming."

Each school has to make a report saying why their school should not close.

The board will make a decision at the end of March 2012. If the board chooses to close any schools, it will be up to five years before the closures are implemented.