BASS RIVER – Nellie McLaughlin was eager to make a very special delivery Friday morning.
The Economy resident happily took some cookies to Bass River Elementary School to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. That simple act of kindness spoke volumes about the close relationship between the area’s residents and the elementary school, which may close as the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board decides its fate through a school review process.
“It upsets, worries and scares me” that the Primary to Grade 4 school could close, said McLaughlin, who has a daughter, Norah, in Grade Primary. Her other daughter, Olivia, attended the elementary school and is now a Grade 5 student at West Colchester Consolidated School, which is less than half a kilometre away from the elementary school. If the school did close, the elementary youngsters would share a school with the Grade 5 to 9 children at West Colchester Consolidated.
“It’s an awesome elementary school and a really great learning environment. It’s one-on-one (learning),” said McLaughlin, adding a transfer to the consolidated school isn’t a good idea.
“I like that school too … (but) they couldn’t recreate the learning environment that the elementary school has. There’s not (enough) space, learning resources and bathrooms allocated for the elementary students. It’s strapped for space at West Colchester as it is.”
Daughter Norah said she doesn’t want to move out of her current school. McLaughlin said the youngster enjoys Bass River elementary so much that she is always eager to get there in the mornings.
“She’s super excited to go and has a lot of fun there. She doesn’t like missing school even if she’s sick,” said McLaughlin, adding that won’t necessarily be the case if she has to switch schools, even though Norah attends music and gym classes at West Colchester Consolidated twice a week.
Olivia doesn’t like the idea of sharing her “big” school with the elementary students, either. Olivia also believes there’s not enough room to combine Grade Primary to 9 students.
Adding to the frustration, said McLaughlin, is that it was only three years ago that the elementary school underwent the review process. She admitted she can see the school board’s reason to review the facility, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to lose it.
“I can understand from their point of view … with (low) enrolment … but I still don’t think it’s the right thing to do to close.”
A public hearing on the elementary school will take place on Monday night, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at West Colchester Consolidated School. McLaughlin hopes many elementary school supporters will attend.
“I’m hoping for the best. It’s not a done deal yet,” she said.
About Bass River Elementary School:
- It’s a Grade Primary to 4 school.
- There are 20 students there this year.
- 31 students were enrolled in 2012.
- The school is more than 100 years old.
- It's located only 400 metres down the road from West Colchester Consolidated School, which is a Grade 5 to 9 facility.