Concerned parents of students at the Sagonaska Demonstration School in Belleville finally got their chance to have their say with the Minister of Education on Wednesday but members of the media and parents of students trying to register weren’t allowed inside.
Only parents of registered students could take part in the round table discussion with Minister Liz Sandals which was part of a consultation process evaluating the province’s five schools for kids with learning disabilities, which are on the so-called chopping block.
Sagonaska Parent Council Chair Lesley Lehman spoke with Quinte News following the meeting and says, while they didn’t get any solid answers, they feel their message got through, if not with the minister just yet, at least with the group conducting the consultation.
Scott Myers drove all the way from Petawawa to be a part of a parent council meeting earlier in the afternoon, knowing he wouldn’t be allowed to speak to the minister since his daughter’s application hasn’t gone through yet.
He says they went through the entire, expensive, enrolment process, just to be told to wait.
Myers, like other parents in the same situation, would like to see the consultation phase extended to a year and be more transparent.
The group says if the school does have to close, an alternative program needs to be in place first.
Windsor-area MPP and NDP Education Critic Lisa Gretzky made the trip as well, and tells Quinte News she’s tabled a motion asking the minister to reconsider her decision and expand services at Ontario’s demonstration schools.
Quinte-area MPP Todd Smith had grilled the minister earlier in the day and says he’ll support the Gretzky motion when it comes up on April 14 and he’ll be urging others in his party to do the same.
During the closed round table discussion, Sandals listened to parents’ concerns and stories and told them the consultations would continue at the other schools, with a decision to come by the end of the spring.