PICTOU – The school review process for the three schools in Pictou has brought about many strong emotions from the community, with most in agreement that they would like to see the P-12 students remain in the town.
When the review process began, the School Options Committee was provided with three options to consider from the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, none of which included a P-12 option for the students in Pictou.
“We felt, as the SOC, that not having that fourth option put the whole process at a disadvantage,” explains Ralph Heighton, alternate chair of the SOC. “The SOC wanted to know why that fourth option was not there.”
Heighton made reference to the fact at one point, there was in fact a fourth option listed online prior to the SOC being formed, but was taken down. He cannot comment as to why that option was removed and not provided to the SOC, but does note it is now back on the table.
“We felt it put the SOC on a bad footing and that (CCRSB staff) put themselves in a defensive position. We wanted to make it clear to (CCRSB) that we are supporting additional options including a P-12 option.”
In a statement released by the SOC, which can be found on the CCRSB website at http://www.ccrsb.ca/sites/default/files/Minutes%20-%20September%2012%2C%202016%20_0.pdf, the SOC is encouraged by their meetings with the CCRSB staff and that a fair process will be conducted.
“The feedback we received from the community was that they wanted a P-12 option and we felt it needed to be there for a balanced approach and the CCRSB is supportive of new options.”
Heighton also notes the P-12 option is more in line with the current legislation surrounding Pictou Academy that was brought forth by Harvey A. Veniot in 1969.
The SOC has been meeting twice weekly, once a week for formal meetings and once for information meetings with interested groups in the community.
“We felt very strongly from the start that other options needed to be considered to move forward and without (the P-12 option) many on the committee wouldn’t have been able to move forward. We support as many options on the table as possible in order to find the best option for the students and the community.”
The first public meeting will take place on October 6 at Pictou Elementary School and the public is asked to come out and voice their concerns and provide feedback for the SOC.
“We are cognizant of everyone’s concerns, we have the same ones. We hope the public meeting will provide a clear and comprehensive update on what we have been doing so far.”