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School Board Meeting Minutes: February 29, 2012 - Special School Review
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 03/27/2012 (2317 reads)
School Board Meeting Minutes: February 29, 2012 - Special School Review

Cusack School
500 Birch Hill Drive
Sydney, N.S.
February 29, 2012



A Special Board meeting of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board was called to order today beginning at 6:30 p.m.


Present: Lorne Green, ChairJoan Currie, Vice ChairDarren MacNeil
Darlene Morrison Steve ParsonsCathi Pierrard
Charlie KeaganKevin RuellandSandra Margettie
Barb Mercer Fred Tilley Darrell Flynn
Gary Fraser
Absent: Darren Googoo Jackie Organ
Also Present:Ambrose White, Superintendent
Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services
Michelle MacLeod, Board Recording Secretary

(3) SCHOOL REVIEW MEETING – Ashby Elementary:

Board Chair Lorne Green introduced Ms. Anne Gillis, Chair of the School Review Committee. Cusack School was identified for a School Capital Construction Project in 2002. This capital project would mean the consolidation of the three buildings; Ashby, Cusack and Cornwallis School. Construction commenced in 2009-2010. Within her report projected enrollments were highlighted. It was also noted that some facilities/services were lacking at the Ashby site such as a gymnasium, cafeteria and a visual/performing arts centre. The school was renting space at St. Theresa’s Hall for the physical education classes. Ashby was identified as requiring the following renovations: roof repairs, windows, entrance require replacement, washroom upgrades, water line, etc.

It was further noted that administrative efficiencies would occur, physical education offered on site, no transportation of Ashby students to Cusack for celebratory and cultural events. The School Review Study Committee for Ashby Elementary School recommends that Ashby Elementary School close. They make this recommendation after all construction and renovations are completed.

Mr. Paul MacDougall, resident of the area who was a parent of an Ashby student for seven years. He feels it is like a wake and there is a sadness regarding its closure. He noted that it was all positive memories for his family. He noted the school had a great sense of family.

Ms. Stephanie Johnson O’Leary spoke noting that she works with the Ecology Action Centre, and is presently working with the School Travel planning program. She noted the walking distance and the benefits the students would gain from walking.

Commissioner Fraser entered the meeting at 6:56 p.m.

She would like the Board to consider the students health. She requested that the Board and Cusack make a commitment to the School Travel planning program. She would like to have more students walking and biking to school.

The Board Chair, Lorne Green thanked the school community for their presentation this evening.

(4) SCHOOL REVIEW MEETING – Cornwallis Elementary:

Ms. Danielle MacDonald, Chair of the Cornwallis School Study Group spoke with regards to her perspective on the Cornwallis site. The school was identified for School Capital construction project in 2002. The expansion of Cusack began in 2009-2010. Date of completion is the fall of 2012. Ms. MacDonald reiterated comments made earlier by Mrs. Gillis. She spoke of the enrollment of Primary to Grade three students being housed at the Cornwallis site. She further reiterated that the school lacks a gym, cafeteria and a visual/performing arts. She noted that they participate in the provincial standardized testing and rank average overall.

Operational needs for the school which were identified were Fire protection, electrical service, lighting and accessibility. Students are currently bussed to Cusack for Physical Education.

She further noted that improved program space will result from the closure of both Cornwallis and Ashby. The School Review Study Committee for Cornwallis Elementary School recommends that Ashby Elementary School close. They make this recommendation after all construction and renovations are completed.

Ms. Susan McGraw who has a student attending Cornwallis School requested that the Board consider small class sizes when staffing the school in the fall.

Ms. Cathy Field-Currie spoke as a parent. She noted that her son had an excellent year at the school however; she also has a daughter who is four, attending school in September and she has concerns regarding high class sizes or split grades for a four year old. She felt that twenty-five students in a class for a four year old is too many. Lower class sizes would provide a better learning environment and assist with self esteem issues. She would also like to see an increase in support staff at the lower grade level. She recognized the lower age of students with the lack of supports in place.

Commissioner Currie spoke regarding Cornwallis School and the memories she had throughout her career teaching there. She also noted that her own three children also attended the school.

March 22nd was noted as the deadline for all written submissions.



(6) Adjournment of the meeting. . .

the meeting adjourned at 7:46 p.m.


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