Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Port Edward mulls over their plans for the district school

Officials in Port Edward are continuing to put together some ideas as to how they can keep formal education as part of the Community, as the prepare a number of options to put forward whenever a planned meeting with Ministry of Education officials will take place.

Minister of Education Shirley Bond has said that she wants officials from her Ministry to meet with Port Ed officials to take a look at ways to keep the school open for the community.

Port Ed and the School District 52 board will also get together to discuss how the school could be used more by the community, making it possible to keep the much discussed option of keeping the school open.

The details of the various options that are up for debate were provided in the Daily News on Tuesday.

Plenty of options for Port Ed School
The Daily News
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Pages one and three

Discussions between the District of Port Edward and School District 52 will continue this month regarding the future of Port Edward Elementary School, but already the two sides have drafted a number of options.

At the last meeting between the School District and Port Edward, the two sides put together a list of possible options regarding how the education of school-aged children can be kept within the community.

The seven options put forward from both sides included renovating the bottom floor of the District of Port Edward municipal building to include classrooms; putting an addition on to the existing municipal building that would house the community school; demolishing half of Port Edward Elementary School, saving the gym and a portion of the classrooms; building a new, smaller school on the property behind the current school; putting portable classrooms on the District of Port Edward municipal building property; relocating the District of Port Edward municipal operations to the bottom floor of Port Edward Elementary; or selling the school and property and putting portables on the field and playground property owned by the District of Port Edward.

"At the last two meetings I've been at, both the District of Port Ed and the school district said how we feel we should go about it and had discussions on how the school could work and be used more," said District of Port Edward Mayor Dave McDonald.

"I wouldn't call those 'options,' I would say that the meetings were wide-open to discuss whatever we wanted. Some of those were our suggestions and some of those were their suggestions, but it was really everyone coming to the table with open minds. And we're not done by any stretch of the imagination."

McDonald sent a letter to the board in late October, informing SD52 that he had met with Minister of Education Shirley Bond at September's Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual meeting. At the meeting, Minister Bond told him that she would be sending senior staff to meet with the District of Port Edward and school trustees to discuss the possibility of keeping the community school open.

However, McDonald said the official visit has not yet happened.

The next meeting between Port Ed and the school board has not been set yet, but McDonald said discussions are ongoing and he looks forward to working with the new board. The board will hold its first monthly meeting one week from tonight at 7 p.m. in the district building across from Lax Kxeen Elementary School.

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