Nova Scotia

South Shore School Board says no to education minister

The South Shore School Board is pushing forward to close Gold River school

Gold River school to close this year as planned

The Nova Scotia School Board Association said some boards are now wondering what to do with students who are preparing to transfer schools and teachers who have applied for jobs at different schools. (Darrin Phegley/Associated Press)

The South Shore School Board says it will still close some of its schools in the next two years despite a plea from Nova Scotia’s education minister to halt their plans.

Ramona Jennex had asked school boards to suspend the school review process for 2013-2014. She also wants boards to delay any school closings for this school year.

But board chair Jennifer Naugler said her members believe the request just drags out the process.

"We had that process that was put forward by the minister herself. We followed through on that process. When she asked us to suspend the process it did give these communities some hope, but she was asking us to do something that we legally we could not do," she said.

A motion to delay the rulings was ruled "out of order" at a meeting Thursday night.

The South Shore School Board ruled that:

  • Gold River Western Shore Elementary School will close this year and students will be transferred to Chester District Elementary in September.
  • Pentz Elementary School and Petite Riviere Elementary School will also close and the board said it will request that a new school will replace them.
  • Students at Mill Village Consolidated School will move to Dr. JC Wickwire Academy in 2014.
  • Grade 9 students at both New Ross Consolidated School and Chester Area Middle School will move to Forest Heights Community School in September 2014.
  • Hebbville Academy will stay open as is.

Naugler said people need concrete decisions to move forward.

A handful of parents upset with the plan to close the school in Gold River demonstrated outside the office of the South Shore School Board in Bridgewater on Friday.

"It's not that Chester District is a bad school it's just a long drive for five-year-old children. I know my son is enrolled to go to school in September and sometimes we can't make a 20 minute car drive without him needing to stop to go to the washroom and now he's going to put on a bus for up to 45 minutes no doubt," said Sheryl Beaumier.

Jennex said she is disappointed in the South Shore Regional School Board's decision not to delay a school closure as she requested.

The Education Act requires boards to finalize decisions on school reviews by March 31.

with files from the Canadian Press