A number of schools in both the Bedford and Sackville area are under a Halifax Regional School Board boundary review, and parents against the proposed changes are not afraid to voice their opinions on the changes that will affect their kids.
About 200 parents attended a public meeting in Sackville to hear more about the criteria used by the boundary review committee — made up of school administration and parent volunteers — to come up with an interim boundary report. After the committee's presentation parents lined up one by one, some with reports of their own, to discuss their feelings on the proposed changes.
People wishing to share their concerns were given a three minute time limit and were asked to address the committee in a respectful manner. Although anger and frustration could be heard in their voices, the parents complied to the second reques,t but many had a difficult time getting all their points across in the allotted time. The heated crowd burst into applause many times while parents voiced their concerns on safety surrounding walking and busing issues, how transitioning would affect their children, inadequately equipped schools, overcrowding and how the proposed changes would affect the future of teachers and other school staff.
A meeting was held in Bedford back in January where parents had a chance to talk about changes there. After taking those concerns into consideration that boundary review committee presented the school board with a final report. Dana Carruthers was on that committee.
"All of our recommendations were approved," said Carruthers. "Now one of those recommendations — a very important one that affects the junior high schools — has been overturned and so we're back at it again."
For Sackville and Millwood, the fact that one of the recommendations in Bedford was overturned is a positive thing leading them to believe that the interim report for their schools may not be a done deal.
The boundary review committee interim report for Sackville recommends that the schools in the Millwood and Sackville family of schools be reconfigured as follows: the high schools accommodate Grades 9 through 12, the junior high schools accommodate Grades 6 through 8, Cavalier Drive and the elementary schools accommodate Grades P to 5, effective September 2014.
In Bedford boundary changes will affect Bedford South, Basinview Drive Community, Sunnyside Elementary, Kingswood Elementary, Hammonds Plains Consolidated Elementary and Bedford Junior High Schools.
The boundary review committee in Sackville said it will take all parent concerns and recommendations into consideration before making their final report to the HRSB.
For more information on the HRSB boundary reviews visit www.hrsb.ns.ca.