Volume 12 Week 5

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Commentary
Public school board's loss is Catholic board's gain

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

You gotta love those goofy Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustees. Earlier this month they decided to bump a new school in Avalon from the top of their capital funding priority list to number eight.

It's bad enough that a second school in the rapidly expanding community is desperately needed. But what the trustees failed to realize in their haste to throw local public school board supporters under the bus was that the Ottawa Catholic School Board has another new school in Avalon at the top of their list.

And they wonder why they continue to lose market share to the Catholic board.

For years the province has been waiting for the public board to move a new school in Avalon to the top of their list. It finally happened this year after the seven projects in front of it all received funding. Then in one moment of mental incapacitation and without a single Avalon parent in the audience they bumped it back down to number eight. It was enough to make Orleans-Cumberland trustee John Shea sick to his stomach.

If he was thinking about not running again in the next election, he's probably made up his mind now. Pity because he's been one of the few bight lights in that gang of dullards. Actually I shouldn't say that. There were six other trustees who voted against the motion to move Avalon down to eight. Unfortunately they were outnumbered.. by one.

At present the 10,000 plus residents of Avalon only have one catholic and one public elementary school. Both are grossly overcrowded/ Avalon Public School is operating at 150 per cent capacity with eight portable classrooms. It's supposed to start offering full-day kindergarten next fall, but there's no room to do so.

Some of the brainiacs who voted against building a new school on Avalon suggested students be bused from the community to underutilized schools in Fallingbrook. Those parents will probably choose to send their kids to a new Catholic school in their community instead.

The only hope for local public school board supporters is that the province will see past the myopic, parochial decision by the board and fund a new school in Avalon in spite of the stupidity of a few trustees. That's unlikely to happen, however, since, to my knowledge, the province has never gone against the wishes of a school board.

So congratulations Catholic school board supporters, the public board's loss will soon be your gain.

(Posted 7:30 a.m., Nov. 9)

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