Tuesday, February 27, 2007

School Closure public meeting - Feb 27,2007

Tonight I attended, along with councilors Lahti, Watkins and Elliott, and a couple of hundred parents, the meeting of the school board trustees on school closures.  As the conclusion of this process, this meeting was about what I had expected - the process leading up to this meeting was pretty much destined to end in conflict and division, and this is what occurred.  Trustees Watkins and Keryluk made several attempts to put a halt to the proceedings on process issues, but the attempts were dismissed by the rest of the board.  For a process that has been going on since November, the meeting was surprisingly disorganized and there seemed to be little thought put into the planning.  The recommendations from the senior staff seemed to be the same as before the public consultation process, and little mention was made of the hundreds of ideas that had been brought forward by parents, PAC's and members of the community.
 Voting on the closures was divided pretty much on municipal lines, with coquitlam school trustees Wallis, Sowden and Alty being the difference in the rejection of staff recommendations for Mountainview and Meadowbrook,  Burton proposing that Meadowbrook and Lincoln remain open, and Port Moody Trustees Watkins and Hyndes supporting College Park, Moody and Coronation Park remaining open.
 At times the board members seemed confused as to the motions in front of them - probably due to the 'double negative' nature of the motions, and in a few cases the votes had to be recast due to misunderstanding of the motions.
 At the end of the day, the trustees voted to close Vanier, College Park, Coronation, Millside, and Lincoln, and not to close Mountain View and Meadowbrook.  The staff recommendation on Moody - to remain open pending review to 2008/09 was accepted.