At least one Corner Brook parent is opposing the contingency plan to house all junior high students at G.C. Rowe if the new school is not ready for September.
Dean Peckford, who will have two children attending junior high next year, believes the temporary move to place all students in the facility — which currently houses one of the intermediate schools — is a bad one.
“I just think it is a rather large number for a school — and I know the school board will likely tell us that school has housed that number of children in the past,” he said. “But, that brings to light another question. If that can house those students, then why did government elect to spend so much money to do up the old Regina property? Why didn’t they do some minor renovations to Rowe?”
Rowe has been targeted for an eventual amalgamation of the K-6 elementary system, replacing Humber Elementary. Peckford said he is also aware of this plan.
“I personally think it is just propaganda to appease the parents,” he said. “I can’t help but feel the main objective is to shut down the building that Presentation currently is in as a cost-saving measure.”
He said that move would avoid any summer or start-up maintenance at the Presentation facility.
Darrin Pike, chief executive officer/director of education, said bringing all students to Rowe was chosen over splitting the population between the two schools — separating the students by grade level.
“I think it is purely a money driven decision, and it will be at the sacrifice of our children,” Peckford said. “No matter when they move — if it is October, January or Easter when they move — they are looking at a year with two moves, so what difference would it be to stay at Presentation, and have their move down the parking lot, and for the kids to have their thing up there.”
The parent said it is a lot of disruption for an unnecessary purpose.
If there are any concerns about the quality of the structure or health of the environment at Presentation — like there has been in the past — and that is contributing to this plan, then he said the students should not be currently in the facility.
“I think the best solution, as a parent of two children, is to keep it as is,” he said.
Peckford, through his Facebook page, has proposed a petition to stop this contingency plan from proceeding.
He also admits he was not receptive of the amalgamation from the get-go. He said he would also have liked to keep the two high school system in the city. He said the rivalry and competition, especially with respect to extracurricular activities, was healthy and convenient for the students.
“I understand everything is about trying to do stuff in the most cost effective way, and it is more cost effective to have one large school than two smaller ones,” he said. “Unfortunately, that is the world we live in. Everything is money driven. I accept that.”