St. George's Mayor Danny Conway says the consolidation of two schools in his town is a disappointment and amounts to further erosion of the school board system in the Bay St. George area.
Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) voted last weekend to consolidate Our Lady of Mercy Elementary and Applachia High Schools in St. George’s.
The consolidation is to result in annual savings of $116,000.
“This is going to be a big disruption to all the kids in both schools,” Conway said.
He said what was most disappointing when he watched the meeting that was broadcast live on the NLESD website was that there was not one dissenting voice.
Conway said he had thought that Wayne Lee, board trustee representing the area, would speak up on their behalf.
He said Lee had been taken on a walk-through of both schools with local officials.
“I thought we had his support, but he voted in favour of the consolidation,” Conway said.
However, Lee said he did not vote in favour of the motion to consolidate and as trustee for the area he felt it was proper to support the wishes of the people.
He said he made the point at the meeting that both schools were functioning well and noted that the only reason to pass the motion would be a financial one, which he’s guessing the rest of the board went with.
Lee said while he didn’t vote in favour of the motion, it does make some sense to have that school treated the same as others on the island which have the same type of situation.
He said where the meeting was broadcast it’s there for anyone to see that he didn’t raise his hand in favour of the motion when the vote was called.
Conway said it’s not his first time being disappointed with board decisions, as last year all but three children were eliminated from a 45-year bus run on Steel Mountain Road, where the school board used a back road to measure distance and used that rule to stop busing the students.
He said the town council and concerned parents at the school had hoped that keeping the status quo of two schools and not consolidating them into one would have been supported.
“It’s eroding our school system and is of no benefit to our schools in St. George’s,” he said.