March 22nd, 2017 by

More negative feedback on Centre Hastings school plans

A concerned parent grills Hastings Prince Edward School Board officials about a proposed consolidation of schools in Centre Hastings, at a public meeting on March 22, 2017. (Photo: David Foot / Quinte News)

Students need space to play and learn and there simply isn’t enough at Madoc Public School.

That’s the sentiment from concerned parents in Madoc Township, worried about the potential closure of the township public school, as part of the ongoing Hastings and Prince Edward accommodation review process.

Former township school student Brittany Gray noted the difference between the small field and playground at the school in-town, compared to the vast outdoor areas at MTPS.

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Parents also voiced concern about the speed of the process, suggesting that if the closure happens, it should happen next year, with more research done first.

But it wasn’t just concerned parents who made their voices heard last night.

Ontario Federation of Agriculture Representative Bruce Buttar also gave his thoughts on the proposal to consolidate Madoc Township Public School, into Madoc Public School and move grade seven and eight students into the high school.

Buttar says closing rural schools in general has a real negative impact on farmers, their towns and students as a whole.

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While some concerned parents in Centre Hastings think closing Madoc Township Public School is a foregone conclusion, school board members say that’s not the case.

Centre Hastings Superintendent Kathy Portt tells Quinte News, all alternatives are being seriously considered and the initial proposal to consolidate is just the first idea that was put forward.

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Former MP Daryl Kramp spoke to the group and asked them to trust the process, but if the school board goes against what the public wants, it will hurt that trust down the line.

Some other alternative solutions include building a brand new kindergarten to grade 12 building, or just delaying the process altogether.

A final report will be tabled to a school board committee on April 10 and could include some of those proposed changes.

Once that report is tabled, registered delegates will have one more chance to give input at an April 26 meeting, before the board makes a final decision on June 19th.

Links to key dates and to register to speak at the late-April meeting can be found by clicking here, to visit the HPEDSB website.

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