School closures an 'option on the table'

By Kris Dubé, Fort Erie Times/Niagara Advance

The purpose of the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN)'s accommodation review is to make sure local children are receiving the quality of education they deserve, says trustee Dave Schaubel.

A series of public meetings have been held over the last two months, to gather input from parents on what they feel is the best solution for their children.

Being considered at the moment is the closure of Rose Seaton Public School and Fort Erie Elementary School, moving students under one roof at General Vanier Public School with the addition of five new classrooms.

A final recommendation has not been voted on, but it is what the board of trustees is looking into, says Schaubel.

"That's the option we have on the table at the moment," he said.

The next public meeting will be held Wed. Nov. 30 at General Vanier at 6 p.m. and Schaubel hopes interested parents will come out and have their say.

"The reason for the meetings is to get feedback on the options we have, giving them the most detail we possibly can," said Schaubel.

According to the trustee, Fort Erie's representative at the public school board, says the accommodation review should not be seen as a way to cut corners, but to improve the integrity and quality of the education young learners have available to them.

"It's about programming, more than anything else."

Dwindling attendance and under-utilized facilities are the main problems being faced by the DSBN.

"We can't continue to have three schools housing enough students for one school," said Schaubel.

The DSBN trustee hopes the public will keep an open and positive attitude when this decision is being considered and realize the review's purpose is to provide a better learning environment and more opportunities for local children.

"It's all about the students... that's in my heart and that's why I'm a trustee," said Schaubel.

Wednesday's event will be the fourth of five public meetings with the final one being held on Jan. 25.

Public input can also be submitted through the DSBN's website, Click on the link to the accommodation review after getting to the home page.

Schaubel said a final recommendation should be reached by the board in early 2012.

This is the first phase of the review. The second will examine schools in St. Catharines and the third will look at high schools within the board.

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