Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Capilano School Closure meeting

Last night, the meeting was at Capilano. Also in attendance: MLA Hugh MacDonald, MLA Harry Chase, and Councillor Amarjeet Sohi.

What I heard:
-Questions about which census data was used (Dr. Parker from Planning explained that 2006 Federal Data was used for the 2009-2018 Ten Year Facility Plan because the 2009 data was not available at the time of writing the plan. However 2009 City Data is used for sector reviews and has been given to the trustees.)
- Concerns about accessibility of Gold Bar playground and lack of playground at Hardisty (two potential receiving schools)
- Love of the closeknit, protected, walkable, inclusive, community-focused atmosphere at Capilano. Fears about moving children from this small setting (approx 100 students) to large K-9 (approx 700 students)
-Concerns about safety- crossing 106 Ave and lack of parking at Hardisty.
-Concerns about timing- some felt we had been dragging this decision out over many years, while others said they felt rushed.
-What about bringing leases into school to offset costs?  Suggestions: partner with seniors
-What about technology we've recently installed? (Answer: technology will follow students to receiving school)
-What about our casino dollars? (Answer: Receiving school would have casino, Capilano School would lose theirs.)
- Desire for different levels of govt to work together. One taxpayer, one constituent. (We agree and are working on setting up a tri-level meeting.)
- Preference for K-6 elementary vs. K-9.
- Capilano is close to amenities that enhance education. Quality of education is high. Teachers well-loved.
- A lot of questions about the fate of the school, should it close.
- Questions about "meaningfulness" of this meeting. Is the decision already made?
- Benefits of Hardisty mentioned in Notice of Meeting package may not all be relevant to elementary students.

As has happened over the past couple of meetings, there was some frustration expressed at the meeting. I know this is very difficult for everyone and I appreciate the respect demonstrated by the great majority of people attending. Following the meeting, I had a chat with a woman and  I said, "I know it's not easy being in your chair and, believe me, it's not easy in my chair either."  I thanked her for coming and she thanked me for being there.

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