LETTER: School board has failed Munster community

After years of the Ottawa Carleton School board neglecting and muzzling on-going issues at Munster Public School, parents finally had enough of their concerns not being heard and issues not being resolved, that they pulled their children from the school.  Now after a drastic decline in school population, and a community that wants answers and a solution, the board wants to close the community school and bus the children 40+ minutes to neighbouring near capacity schools.

A once thriving community school, in a small town of Munster, took a drastic blow to its population last school year, yet the school board declined to investigate as to why.  Evidence would have shown the board that their neglect to deal with issues lead to a decline in numbers.  Parents pulled their children, not just from the school, from the Ottawa Carleton school board entirely!  In fact, out of just one classroom alone, nine kids were pulled out by their parents and sent to other schools, and of the nine, six of them opted to change boards and joined the Catholic school board.

Parents are thankful the staffing issues have been resolved and see the positive change it has made within the school.  As the reputation of Munster school rebuilds itself, the community wants to grow Munster Elementary School’s numbers and proposed to the Board the addition of EFI to the school, due it’s growing need within our city’s schools.  Currently south of Stittsville, there is no school within the Ottawa Carleton School Board that offers EFI and children are being bussed into the city, making them spend 80-120 minutes per day on a bus.  If the Board’s role is to “provide equitable access to programs for all students”, then implementing the EFI program at Munster Elementary School is the way to go.

On Tuesday, January 20th, 2015, at 7pm the community will be meeting with the Board and it’s Trustees to plead their case and show that the “evidence” they have for closing the school is not accurate and remind them of their role they played in Munster School’s current situation.

As Trustee Lynn Scott stated, “putting students first means choosing what’s right, instead of what’s popular.”  When it comes to the closure of a great facility with an over sized gym and massive yard space, uprooting children out of their own community and putting them on a bus for an hour and a half to go to school, I just hope the other Trustees believe in the same thing.

Do what is right for the kids.  That’s what this is, and has always been about.

Laura Rupert


6 thoughts on “LETTER: School board has failed Munster community”

  1. Laura’s letter is spot on. This school is a pillar of this community and is now at risk of being closed because the school board is outright refusing to look at realistic options and viable solutions. Unfortunately this school has been mismanaged and ignored and as a result parents out of sheer frustration have pulled their kids out; however with a new principle bringing a breath of fresh air and making positive changes we are getting back on track. This type of culture change does not happen overnight and the school board needs to give us another chance given the fact that their neglect has caused the declining enrollment to begin with.

    I do not want my young children spending an hour and a half or more a day commuting to be put in a portable of an over-capacity school where they will fall through the cracks. My children have directly benefited intellectually and emotionally from the small classroom sizes and small town culture MES offers.

    I also don’t understand why the Country Club Village is being given so much consideration when the impact to them will be almost non-existent and they are a smaller community than Munster. Parents are not being informed that if they are already committed to another school they will not be forced to move to MES. The School Board seems to be intentionally allowing people to be misinformed thus driving a wedge within the Munster and greater area community to support their position which I feel is completely unethical.

    Should the children in Munster not be given first and foremost consideration with this decision?

  2. Thank you for this article. Although I no longer live in Munster, as a child I was bussed into Stittsville for French immersion and still remember spending 2-3 hours in transit each day. EFI has been needed at EMS for decades, but the school board is not putting children in this small community first. Good luck tonight!

  3. The vast majority of parents do not want to see their kids being used to gamble on an experiment that’s looking to fail from the start. Even using the most optimistic numbers, you’d still be looking at split classrooms across the board with a possible triple or quadruple split classroom. Plus EFI isn’t even shareable for the most part because of the different blends of French and English for each grade.
    And it’s not like creating a new program that would struggle right from the get-go, would solve the problems of an existing struggling program or even improve it. You’d in fact be more than doubling the current problem.
    I agree that it’s important to do what is best for the children, but an EFI program at MES is clearly not it at all.

  4. Dear Joe P.

    Hogwash, with all due respect you are patently incorrect in your statements.
    First: Parents can choose to give EFI at the school a shot or the can choose not to. You have a right to stay at your current school or transfer.
    Second: All programs take a while to get up to speed. Take the MFI program in Richmond as an example. Classes were small to begin with and now they are overfilled.

    There would be no triple or quadruple split classes. There aren’t now with only English.

  5. No triple or quadruple grades in English now (although it’s on that path obviously), but certain lots of double shared grades (every grade except for one from the looks of it). An EFI program would look no better than its English program.
    When you have grades with only 2 students in them, and if you have a couple of them in a row, then a triple shared grade becomes inevitable. So you’re already awfully close to having to combine 3 grades. You right now have 2 grades with just 2 students in them, and are lucky they’re not consecutive.
    Combining EFI grades poses a problem (whether this is double or triple shared), because each grade has a different blend of French vs English.
    The numbers look inadequate, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get a heck of a whole lot better any time soon. In fact, it looks like numbers will keep on declining (this according to both census and maturing populations). Not something you can build on, and not something you ought to be able to use other people’s children for.
    As for Richmond, that has been a community with strong growth, unlike Munster. That explains why they’ve seen an increase in MFI enrollment.

    1. Joe, just be upfront and admit that you have kids at a competing school and don’t want them to move. While you are at it you should admit that you have not considered the normalized enrolment numbers nor the fact that the school had more than double the students three years ago and would have these numbers again if people like you were not fighting the success of this school. BTW there are not multiple grades with only two students.

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