As the 30-day appeal deadline draws near, a number of petitions against a recent Hastings Prince Edward District School Board decision have been launched by parents and community members opposed to school closures in the area.
On Monday, in Prince Edward County, two petitions were penned in a bid to save Queen Elizabeth in Picton and Pinecrest in Bloomfield from closing and consolidating at Q.E. this fall. Both public schools will then transition into PECI making it a K-12 school in 2018.
Closures and consolidations decided by the Hastings Prince Edward District School Board on June 19 do not qualify for the temporary halt on school closings announced a week later by Education Minister Mitzie Hunter. Following a number of public consultations held recently in smaller Ontario towns, including one at Isaiah Tubbs in the County, Minister Hunter said it became clear changes are needed.
However, Minister Hunter’s call for a brief moratorium on school closures doesn’t prevent the closure of the two County schools.
This has prompted five Queen Elizabeth Accommodation Review members including parent J.J. Syer to spark a petition calling for an administrative review of the board’s decision in what they call a failed process. She said the board failed to follow its own process by not providing enough information before, during or after the process for anyone involved to make an informed decision.
The petitions for Queen E and another one for Pinecrest are located at Kelly Shop on Main Street in Picton. For Queen E, Syer said they need to get anywhere from 80 to 100 signatures from students and parents – approximately 30 percent of the student population. Anyone who participated in the accommodation review by attending, writing the board or participating as an ARC member is also welcome to sign the petition.
She encourages parents and the community to visit the Prince Edward County Alliance for Rural Education Facebook page as it has been acting as a platform to keep parents informed not just about Queen E but all County schools.
Meanwhile, parents and students at Quinte Secondary School in Belleville are also in the process of petitioning the board’s decision to close and move students to Moira in 2018. The petition for parents, students and ARC members to sign is located at the high school.
The last chance to sign the Quinte petition is Thursday July 13 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The petitions need to be submitted to the Ministry by July 19.