The Regina School Board voted, Tuesday night, to close Dieppe (4 for, 3 against) and Haultain (5 for 2 against) at the end of this school year.
Lara Quintin and Bill Gray came forward to represent Eastview neighbourhood and ask that Haultain be spared. Many of the arguments made by them, and Trustee’s Beck and Andersen will be familiar.
What I found more interesting were the arguments for closure. Those who voted for the closures spoke about system wide equity, responsible financial planning, busing as a way to combat tardiness and belief in RBE’s program of structural innovation. Trustee Dr. Young commented that the changes structural innovation will bring, collaborative teaching and learning groups, will make large schools feel like small ones.
In reference to Haultain, Dr. Young also spoke to demographic and poverty data, saying that many neighbourhoods now face social issues. The geographic challenges with Haultain were addressed, with Trustee West particularly haunted by that factor (though he voted for closure) but those for generally felt the students would receive a better education elsewhere.
It was also clearly stated that the board was not in the business of community building rather educating children was their primary concern. This is certainly fair, but also firmly plants the school board in an education silo. I believe the Board wants to work with others, communities, the city and province, businesses and so on, but you can’t tell that from some member’s statements. Quite the opposite.
It is clear that those who voted for the closures were well prepared, had read imput from a variety of sources and been privy to a great deal of information. Of course those voting against had the same advantages. There are two different visions at the moment and that makes for an interesting board.
Probably the last thing the Dieppe and Haultain communities are thinking about right now is having an interesting board. It was a very sad meeting for the many families in attendance.