Some parents unhappy about school restructuring in Port McNeill

Parent not happy children will attend different schools.

  • Feb. 24, 2011 6:00 p.m.

The board of education voted unanimously Feb. 14 to reconfigure Port McNeill schools in September, making official the recommendations of the community and senior staff. Effective September, 2011 Cheslakees Elementary School will become an early learning centre housing Strong Start, all kindergarten classes and possibly community early learning service providers. Sunset Elementary will enroll Grade 1 to 7 students.Included in the report from senior management is a recommendation that investments be made in facilities, equipment and resources at both schools to ensure successful implementation of the restructuring.But not all parents are happy with the decision. Port McNeill parent Bonnie Barrett  addressed the trustees during question period. Barrett, herself an alumnus of Sunset Elementary, has a daughter attending Grade 2 there and a son preparing to attend kindergarten in September. She expressed her disappointment with the board’s decision to house Port McNeill’s kindergarten students in Cheslakees Elementary next year, with all other elementary grades enrolling at Sunset.”My son has been in pre-school for two years,” said Barrett. “He’s ready to join the big kids.”Barrett said she was one of the Port McNeill parents who supported the idea amalgamating the two school populations into one at Sunset, but she didn’t want to say, “close the school,” at that time because of the distress Cheslakees parents were already feeling and expressing.”Now I have kids in two schools. It would have been nice if my son was at the same school as his sister,” said Barrett.Barrett’s concerns echoed those of Maritta Kennedy who’s daughter will be attending kindergarten this year. She wrote, “They, (kindergarten students), should be taking part in such things as sports teams, buddy reading, and school assemblies with other elementary children,” in an email to district administration and the board.