Greater Essex school board to review every school in system
Although parents walked away upset 'they should know that they, in fact, won,' says Coun. Chris Holt
Forget reviewing the possible closure and merger of seven schools. The Greater Essex County District School Board decided Tuesday to move forward a review of all its schools, in Windsor and Essex County.
Administration had suggested an accommodation review of seven schools, including the possibility of closures.
That idea fell flat during the standing-room only meeting Tuesday.
Several spoke passionately about why it's important to keep their schools open.
Instead of reviewing seven schools, trustee Jessica Sartori tabled a motion for a board-wide review of all its schools and it passed.
The board's decision sparked cheers from the crowd.
"I think that [we should be] involving all of those schools together in an accommodation review. Each of the neighbourhoods have very unique characteristics and I was a little bit uncomfortable in sort of throwing them all together," Sartori said.
Now that report will come back to trustees in six months. That deadline can be extended it need be.
Sartori would like to see the board partner with municipalities during the review.
"There have been several city councillors actually attending our board meetings the last few nights and there's a real appetite for many individuals from the city to want to be involved," she said. "I'm sure that exists in the county as well."
Coun. Chris Holt is one of those active councillors.He promptly took to Facebook following the board meeting Tuesday to voice his excitement.
He said although parents walked away upset "they should know that they, in fact, won."
"Many folks walked away disappointed when they should know that they in fact won, and created an historic precedence in the mean time," he wrote in a post.
"You convinced every trustee there that there were serious flaws and it didn't even warrant the implied support a trustee would need to make to even move the motion," he told to the delegates and parents. "Congratulations on that first historic event!
"To have the school board reach out to the City of Windsor to plan our communities together is a monumental one!"
Administration had suggested closing Hugh Beaton Elementary School and moving its students to John Campbell Elementary School, where the board would then build six new classrooms.
Administration also recommended merging of Prince Edward and Queen Victoria elementary schools in a new, bigger school in roughly the same part of the city.
Begley, King Edward and Dougall elementary schools were also up for review.