Following a consultation with parents of Grades 9-11 Carbon School students (next year’s high school group) on Thursday May 6, the Golden Hill School Division (GHSD) has confirmed the school will remain open.
“There was never a motion to close it,” clarified board member, division contact Shirley Buyer, adding “as long as we don’t get people pulling their kids from the school, it will remain open.”
The consultation served to discuss the enrolment challenges and to invite the school council to provide input on the long term sustainability of the high school.
Ron Kenworthy, chair of the GHSD, told The Mail the board looked at different schools in December/January to determine if there were any sustainability problems in them.
“It became apparent afterward that the Carbon School was having decreasing enrolment in their High School, that a lot of kids were going to different schools in the area other than Carbon.
We thought at that time we should start a conversation with the parents to find out how they are feeling about it because if they were saying ‘ok the school is getting too small’, we’d have needed to do something right now, so we needed to know that,” said Kenworthy.
“It wasn’t so much about the funding, although it is always difficult to maintain a school with low enrolment, but more importantly, it was how the parents felt about the program being offered. We wanted to speak to the parents whose children are the most affected right now to see if they wanted something done right now.”
Kenworthy said parents’ views were mixed, but mostly indicating a level of satisfaction with the program.
He also told The Mail there would be ongoing discussions in the coming year with the school council to ensure the situation was reviewed regularly.
“We want to start the dialogue with the parents,” said Kenworthy. “The indications we have is that things are not all that well, when you look at the results for example.”
Jeannette Giesbrecht, Carbon resident with children attending the Carbon School believes they will be facing the same battle next year.
“I am going to start emailing our MLAs…We need to do something, we can’t lose it next year either.”
Giesbrecht told The Mail that parents would be having another meeting to decide what the next step is going to be, adding “I think what we need to do is to start looking at these kids who are going to other schools to try and encourage them to come back because enrolment is an issue.”
When questioned about how the school board would deal with funding adjustments, Buyer said the school may suffer teachers’ cut so they may have to adjust the timetables.
She also stressed that people needed to realize these problems were not due to the local boards but government’s decisions.