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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Colborne School May Close

Regional | by Rick Stow  

Superintendent's ARC option would be to close Colborne School.

Avon-Maitland District School Board Superintendent Mike Ash has laid his cards on the table, presenting staff's "Rural Option" to the Colborne-Holmesville Accommodation Review Committee.

Ash would close Colborne School, but bus students in three directions -- to the schools they live nearest to.

The plan would send some to Brookside Elementary, others to schools in Goderich, and the balance to Holmesville Public.

Ash says this would create a stable school population in Holmesville which he estimates would remain near 160 students over the next decade.

He says the plan would keep the longest bus ride at under an hour.

Not everyone was convinced this was the suggestion the ARC wishes to bring forward.

ARC Committee member and Colborne parent Rebecca Ingham says the mood is to keep the Colborne kids together and send them all to Holmesville.

Ingham's group is in the process of surveying Colborne school parents as to what their transportation preferences would be.

She and the other ARC committee members declined an invitation to refine Ash's "Rural Option" at the table Wednesday, and will do the parent survey first.

Stressing that his option was a "starting point" for discussion, Ash had pressed the committee to take a position on accepting or changing the proposed new school boundaries he introduced in the "Rural Option" earlier on.

Ash wanted an ARC recommendation on dividing the Colborne student pool at the Blyth Road (County 25) or moving the new Holmesville boundary further north.

The Committee, for its part, pressed board staff for data on provincial funding formulas and facilities review reports on all of the schools in the ARC equation.

About 30 people attended the meeting held at the former Victoria Public School in Goderich.

Superintendent Ash was impressed with the quality of parent presentations to the ARC.

Members of the public spoke on EQAO standards, urban-rural inequities, school violence, the value of schools to the rural economy, workforce retention in agriculture and the rural school as an endangered species.

The ARC's next meeting is December 14th at 7 PM at Holmesville Public School.


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