All sides heard on Mount Pearl schools

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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Board of Trustees expected to vote Saturday on proposals

The dilemma facing two Mount Pearl schools appears to be similar, based on the stories told by school council representatives for Mount Pearl Senior High and St. Peter’s Elementary at a public hearing Thursday night.

St. Peter's Elementary

Both schools are set to face capacity issues in the years ahead. Both school councils do not accept the status quo and say change is needed.

In the case of Mount Pearl Senior High, its school council supports an option before the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District’s Board of Trustees to swap buildings with Mount Pearl Intermediate and convert from a grades 10-12 school to a 9-12 school. Mount Pearl Intermediate would also lose its Grade 5 classes, with those students being sent to Morris Academy.

According to school council chair Joanne Juteau, many classes are now serving a dual purpose to accommodate the growth.

“As you can see, we have done everything possible to accommodate the provincially prescribed curriculum in very tight quarters,“  said Juteau.

“There is no additional free classroom slots in our current schedule to accommodate the forecasted increases in student enrolment at Mount Pearl Senior High.”

St. Peter’s Elementary’s school council supports a plan that would convert it and Newtown Elementary — currently both

K-6 schools — into schools for grades K-3 and 4-6 respectively.

“The status quo is not acceptable to the parents of St. Peter’s Elementary,” said its school council chair, Derek Sullivan.

Parents and school councils representing the other schools are less receptive to the proposed changes.

Those who appeared Thursday with an interest in Newtown Elementary’s future suggested a realignment of catchment areas would be a better solution to forcing students to experience an additional transition year.

Several parents suggested it would be best to hold off on making any changes given the recent announcement full-day kindergarten will be implemented in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Representatives for Mount Pearl Intermediate expressed concerns about how a building swap will impact the availability of extracurricular activities in light of a smaller staff. It was suggested Grade 9 students attending Mount Pearl Senior High will be susceptible to bullying.

School council chair Todd Goodyear suggested a better option would be to lobby government for new infrastructure.

Board of Trustees members are expected to vote on these matters at a public meeting Saturday morning in St. John’s. The proposed changes would be effective for the 2014-15 school year.

 

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador.Representatives

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Recent comments

  • mt.pearl parent
    April 11, 2014 - 07:06

    I think St.John's should be building a school, for the families living in Southlands and surrounding areas that are part of St.john's. People from Mt.Pearl cant just decide to send there kids to a St.John's school, so why should St.john's kids go to school in Mt.Pearl?

    • Half-Sensible
      April 11, 2014 - 08:32

      Municipalities like St. John's and Mount Pearl do not dictate where children go to school. They also do not fund or build schools. The province does that. It is the province who says, we will not build another school until there are no existing empty classrooms and that they must maximize existing infrastructure. At the end of the day, we are all NL'ers so let's not pit Mount Pearl folks and St. John's folks against each other.

    • Half-Sensible
      April 11, 2014 - 08:33

      Municipalities like St. John's and Mount Pearl do not dictate where children go to school. They also do not fund or build schools. The province does that. It is the province who says, we will not build another school until there are no existing empty classrooms and that they must maximize existing infrastructure. At the end of the day, we are all NL'ers so let's not pit Mount Pearl folks and St. John's folks against each other.