PEI

Closing schools 'crazy': Communities deliver final statement on schools review

Representatives from the five P.E.I. schools recommended for closure held a press conference Wednesday evening in Kinkora to give their final statement on the schools review process.

'We'll let them come out with their recommendations and then that's when the work begins'

(From left) Kerri O'Brien and Mallory Peters representing Georgetown Elementary, Jeremy Brown for St. Jean Elementary, Charlottetown city Coun. Mitchell Tweel, Marcella Ryan, president of Belfast Consolidated Home and School Association, Janet Payne and Jenn Duffy representing Kinkora, Katie MacLennan, president of the Bloomfield Home and School Association and Tishie Shea representing St. Louis Elementary. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Representatives from the five P.E.I. schools recommended for closure held a press conference Wednesday evening in Kinkora to give their final statement on the schools review process.

The representatives released a joint statement, calling for an end to the review process and for the election of school trustees that will be involved in any further changes to P.E.I. public schools.

During the meeting, Janet Payne, member of the home and school at Somerset Elementary in Kinkora and organizer of the press conference, criticized the entire review process, which started in September.

"If our government, and our three trusted appointees come out on Monday night and recommend anything other than what we've been stating for these past six and a half months, they are...crazy," said Payne.

Payne said Wednesday's night meeting was to present a final united front against the recommendations for school closures.

"To see everyone in the same room, knowing that we believe in the same things, is meaningful to me," said Payne.

Continued protests

Payne said even after six months, she's prepared to keep fighting if the board of directors decide on any school closures.

"[I'm] absolutely revved up for Monday night, absolutely willing to move forward if the recommendations aren't satisfactory," said Payne.

Janet Payne said the schools review process has been frustrating. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

A sentiment echoed by Charlottetown city Coun. Mitchell Tweel, who has advocated for St. Jean Elementary, the only school recommended for closure not located in rural P.E.I.

"We're going to go that meeting Monday night. We'll let them come out with their conclusions, we'll let them come out with their recommendations and then that's when the work begins," said Tweel.

Charlottetown city counsellor Mitchell Tweel said he will call on Premier Wade MacLauchlan for a meeting if any of the schools are slated for closure. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Most agreed that whatever course of action members of the individual schools decided to take, that they would continue to work together.

"We need to be supportive whether your school stays open or not," said Patrick Curley, who came out in support of Georgetown Elementary.

Payne said as determined as she is to continue fighting against the recommendations, it's been a frustrating process.

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