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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Petition To Save OSCVI

Owen Sound | by Bayshore News Staff  

Nearly 1,000 names on petition to delay Bluewater decision, MP meets students.

Alumni and students at the OSCVI will submit a petition to the Minister of Education in protest of a decision to close the Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute.

More than 960 people signed the document on Saturday and Sunday at Home and Cottage Expo at the Harry Lumley-Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound.

The Chair of the OSCVI Alumni Association, Styn Furness, says the petition requests a one-year delay to ensure due diligence and proper consultation.

She says the public became aware of the Bluewater District School Board's plan to reconfigure the OSCVI into a elementary school on March 1st.

Prior to that, it had been proposed that both the OSCVI and West Hill Secondary School become Grade-7 to Grade-12 facilities in September 2016.

Furness says everyone is "shocked the Board would consider closing the OSCVI without a broad consultation with students and the community about the impact."

The student-lead group 'Save OSCVI' will present the petition to Bruce-Grey Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker, who will then deliver it to Queen's Park.

Furness, whose late husband Fred organized a fundraising initiative for the OSCVI auditorium, is hopeful the petition will halt or reverse the Board's decision.

The slogan for the campaign is "Falcon Spirit and Community Support."

On Wednesday, the OSCVI Alumni Association will discuss the appeal process at the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority building at 10:30 AM.

Owen Sound Council has also called for a special meeting at 7 PM on Wednesday to discuss OSCVI.

Bruce Grey Owen Sound Conservative MP Larry Miller met with the OSCVI Student Council on Monday, and issued this statement afterwards.

"I want to thank members of OSCVI Student Council who asked me to meet with them over concerns that they have regarding the BWDSB decision to move OSCVI students to West Hill Secondary School in September 2016. I share their concerns that the 'best interests' of all students are certainly not being taken into consideration. West Hill is a fantastic school, but that is not the issue here.

Once again, students in Grey-Bruce are being negatively affected by a provincial government that thinks that: 'What works in Toronto will work everywhere else'. This is simply not the case.

I wish OSCVI Student Council and all those concerned with this decision, the very best in their fight to keep their school."

The Bluewater District School Board's decision to close the school as of June 30th can be appealed if it's felt the process wasn't properly adhered to, though the Board has insisted provincial guidelines have been followed.

The current Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute location will be renovated and re-branded as a elementary school for the 2017-2018 school year.

Closing the OSCVI and four Owen Sound-area elementary schools means the Bluewater District School Board will reduce excess pupil spaces by 1,500.

The estimated operating deficit of $345,000 in 2016-17 will become a $50,000 surplus in 2016, increasing to $165,000 in the 2017-18 school year.

School renewal costs for the next five-years will also be reduced by $16.5-million.




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