(EDITOR’S NOTE: Letter writer Eryn Konkle says she’s part of a group of nearly 20 families including about 40 kids within Munster Elementary School’s boundaries. Based on current and projected enrolment numbers, they don’t support keeping the school open. Konkle was also part of the school board working group that gave feedback to school board staff last year.)
Last month, after extensive consultation with all potentially affected communities and with the goal of ensuring that the educational experience of students is its first priority, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board staff made the difficult recommendation to close Munster Elementary School (MES) starting in the 2015-2016 school year.
Or so we thought.
In a surprise move, Trustee Lynn Scott asked the Planning Department to look at yet another scenario despite the Planning Department’s recommendation. This new scenario was never brought forward to the working group that spent months going through scenarios and running numbers for the initial four scenarios.
Essentially, Ms. Scott has sent the Planning Department back to square one. The question is why? And why weren’t all members of the working group consulted about the new scenario? Simply put, the facts speak for themselves. Although new information has been presented regarding a development by Talos homes, this is falsely represented information used as a defense tactic to keep the school open. The City of Ottawa will not consider discussions with Munster regarding development before 2018.
Many EFI families are extremely disappointed with recent activities, from Ms. Scott’s new, out-of-the-blue scenario to disparaging comments and actions towards them from the Munster community. Those living within the four quadrants of Munster who do not agree with this “save MES at any cost” campaign have been ostracized in their community. They feel that the new scenario is short-term and a temporary band-aid solution.
The only way the EFI program at MES has a chance at being viable is to have every child in the “gray zone”, including Richmond students, choose MES every year.
Our EFI families are fighting for the quality of their children’s education first and foremost – not for keeping a building open – and feel that the board has failed them. Fighting this hard for quality programming for our children is appalling. In fact, if Ms. Scott’s new scenario is voted in, many families will leave this board and go to the Catholic board.
Eryn Konkle, Ashton