SWIFT CURRENT, NL — The future of the all-grade school at Swift Current will be decided Feb. 3., 2018.
Tony Stack, director of education with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD), confirmed that information for The Packet on Friday.
The school, which has a population of just over 20 students, was one of those earmarked for review by the board earlier this year. It was one of six listed for potential closure following a meeting of the school board last June.
Stack said since then, representatives of the school board met with the local school council in September to present more information and gather feedback.
Last Saturday, Nov. 25, the school board trustees met to examine that feedback and decided to continue the process by tabling a notice of motion.
“We felt there was enough information to proceed with the process,” said Stack.
The motion proposed is to close Swift Current Academy effective June, 2018, with students rezoned to attend Tricentia Academy in Arnold’s Cove.
However, there will be more discussion and opportunity for input from the community before the final decision is made, explained Stack.
“The next phase is another round of consultation, gathering input via the NLESD website and face to face with the community.
The trustees will be in Swift Current on Jan. 9 for a public meeting at 6:30 p.m.https://www.nlesd.ca/schools/schoolreview/2017/doc/scabooklet.pdf
Stack said people have until Dec. 20 to register with the school board to make a presentation at that meeting; 10 minutes will be allotted to each presenter, and presentations can come from individuals as well as groups.
Those who wish to present to the meeting should contact Jackie Crane at 758-2381 or firstname.lastname@example.org by 2 p.m. Dec. 20 to register.
An online feedback form is also available at nlesd.ca and feedback will be accepted there until Jan. 22.
Following the Jan. 9 meeting the school board staff will assess the feedback from the public meeting, and from the on-line form, and prepare a report for the trustees.
“Based on all of that, and the public meeting on Jan. 9, the trustees will vote on the motion on Feb. 3,” said Stack.
This is not the first time Swift Current Academy has been reviewed by the school board.
In 2006, the Eastern School Board recommended the school be reconfigured from a K-12 school, to a K-6 school, with Grade 7-12 students bussed to Arnold’s Cove.
There was fierce opposition to the proposal and the school remained a K-12 facility.
Currently, 24 students attend the school.
According to Stack, when the school board met with the school council in September, “I think it’s fair to say that the individuals there were not surprised that we were talking to them about potential school review.”
He added, “Anytime a school closes in a community it is a huge decision; that’s not lost on us and it is weighed in the decision-making.
That’s why this second phase of consultation and the Jan. 9 public meeting are very important, he said.
He encouraged people to participate.
“Even if you’ve responded to the first process, we encourage you to take part in this next stage of the process,” emphasizing again, “There no final decision yet; this is part of a process.”
There’s more information about the review process for Swift Current Academy here: