Mount Pearl Intermediate school council implores parents to object to school swap

Barb Sweet bsweet@thetelegram.com
Published on March 22, 2014

The school council chairman for Mount Pearl Intermediate fired up parents Friday to object to a proposed grade reconfiguration he says could affect programs and teaching levels.

Todd Goodyear asked the school to send home letters to parents of about 900 students, headlined “Mount Pearl Intermediate School slated to close at the end of the school year.”

The school isn’t actually being shut down, but the English School Board votes April 12 on a proposal to swap grades between schools.

If that option is approved, Mount Pearl Intermediate is to be reconfigured from the current Grade 5-9 school to a Grade 6-8 school and be accommodated in the current Mount Pearl Senior High building.

Mount Pearl Senior High would be reconfigured from its current Grade 10-12 to a Grade 9-12 school and be accommodated in the current Mount Pearl Intermediate building.

Morris Academy would be reconfigured from its current designation as a kindergarten to Grade 4 school to a kindergarten to Grade 5 school.

Goodyear said Friday the board is rushing a decision in time for September and contends there isn’t that much overcrowding at Mount Pearl Senior High.

Building on or adding portable classrooms to Mount Pearl Senior High is a better option, he said.

“They could fix all this,” Goodyear said.

He said if Mount Pearl Intermediate is reconfigured, the school will lose 326 students and the government’s class ratio then could take 20 teachers out of that facility, affecting specialty teachers and programs such as art and gym.

“I’m urging the parents to stand up and be heard, let the board know, ‘This is not the best thing to do here, guys,’” he said.

Goodyear implored parents to contact the board of trustees by the end of Friday in order to reserve a presentation time for the March 31 public meeting or go online to make comments at www.nlesd.ca.

“We will find out if there is (true) public consultation  or if it is all for show,” he said.

Also in the letter to parents, Goodyear warned the reconfiguration and building swap will do nothing to solve busing issues for early French immersion students.

He also said the Mount Pearl Senior High site has no dedicated play area for elementary-age students and has less gymnasium space, and the existing learning resource centre at Mount Pearl

Intermediate is one of the best in the province.

A spokesman for the school board said whatever option is chosen on April 12 will be subject to the collective agreement process with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association (NLTA).

But the board clarified none of the options involve shuttering Mount Pearl Intermediate.

A teachers’ association spokeswoman said there are a lot of could happens and maybes, and with the options up in the air until that decision, the NLTA has no position because it doesn’t yet know what it’s dealing with.

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