Bass River residents voice opposition to consolidating schools

Monique Chiasson
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BASS RIVER - More than 20 speakers echoed the same message during a public meeting in Bass River last night: do not consolidate the elementary and junior high school in that community.
"When schools get cut you kill communities," said Garnet McLaughlin, who has a child attending Bass River Elementary and is fire chief in Economy, during a public meeting in Bass River Tuesday night.
"I'm not sure if I'm staying in the community if education and social development is (compromised)."
McLaughlin, and others, consistently referred to worrisome issues if Bass River Elementary School (Primary to 3) students where moved to West Colchester Consolidated School (Grades 4 to 9), as the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board is considering. Some of the issues discussed were crowding, lack of storage space, loss of a learning centre and playground for elementary students, hooks, fountains and wash taps that are too low for the younger population, and the re-arranging of lunch periods.
Combining the schools would result in an environment that is "not socially conducive to learning" said Sybil Flemming, a teacher at WCCS.
She said having a Grade Primary student using the same washroom as a Grade 9 student would be like "entering a soap opera" for the young children being exposed to the "physical changes, discussions about breakup and meltdowns" by the older girls.
Even students expressed their opinions.
"We'd be getting rid of a computer room to make room for the younger kids, we'd further reduce our library (space) and compromise students' learning, which will affect us when we go to CEC," said Grade 9 WCCS student Mary Knight.
"I do not want our so-called empty classes to be taken away ... and I do not want to go to CEC and the workforce (unprepared)," added Grade 9 WCCS student Brady Taggart.
Many speakers said closing the elementary school would save the school board about $7,000.
"Our students are worth more than $7,000," said Martha Brown, chairwoman of the Bass River elementary closure committee. Brown said if CCRSB closes the elementary school, the school board should add two new classes, a learning centre and library and separate washrooms.
Many people from a crowd of about 150 stated their displeasure with inaccuracies in an assessment report into the elementary school. Some said they felt disrespected, while others indicated they were insulted with the process.
School board members will continue to discuss the issues and must make a decision before the end of March.

Organizations: West Colchester Consolidated School, Bass River Elementary School, Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Bass River, Chignecto

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Recent comments

  • Trucker on the go
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Didn't the mla's gov commission this report?

  • Kyle
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    One of the most aggravating aspects of this story is the fact that no one from the Operations Department of the Board actually visited the school prior to writing the report that the School Board bases it's decision on. The report is so full of errors that the whole process is now suspect and should be cancelled.

    The Operations Department has shown an extreme lack of respect for residents of our communities and we are the ones that pay their salaries!

  • Jennifer
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I am wondering why there were no board members introduced to the public at the meeting last night. We, the parents and the community need answers to all the questions we have regarding our children's education. When will someone step up and provide us with the important information we so very much deserve!

  • dave
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    yup - one room school houses never worked...