A challenge. Run for public office!

David Bentley, ex Frank, ex Daily News, issued a challenge in the CH a few days ago, one we hope some Wolfvillians will heed.

This is supposed to be a serious call to arms to all of you who, like me, have sat on the sidelines virtually our entire lives, thinking we could do so much better.

Never mind that we’re all terminally afflicted by the notion public life has sunk to the point where the only inhabitants are people who have decided they can afford to sacrifice their reputations, such as they are, because the pension benefits are so generous. [link to source]

Mr. Bentley, fondly known as Bentballs by those who know him [and some who don’t], is running for a position on the HRM School Board. Knowing David as we do we know his motives are of the highest order – to rescue education in the province.

Saint Mary’s is one of those excellent small schools that thousands and thousands of students have been fortunate enough to attend since it was built in 1955.

The Imagine Our Schools consultants from Toronto recently recognized its qualities. They forecast an increase in enrolment – and recommended that it remain open for five years.

Alas, Mr. Windsor, in his capacity as the one-man, unelected school board, chose to reject the advice of the experts, deciding he knows better.

So 10 or a dozen parents, teachers and neighbours of Saint Mary’s are having to volunteer hours and hours of their time this summer to prove him wrong.

If electors get some decent candidates to vote for this coming October, I’m confident they will.

At the same time, I’m also hopeful that the school board can be persuaded to realize that the chronic, ongoing round of school closure threats is really a form of bullying behaviour that has to be stopped.

Our schools, every last one of them, are the precious institutions that hold the key to educational success – not collections of buildings that can be neglected and then torn down in an endless quest for consolidation.

I don’t think this is something that parents or teachers want.

They know that bigger schools are only rarely better schools.

He is quite right to say, as he does that small schools are better and that closing neighbourhood schools as they have been all over is crazy. We agree and wish him well. We also acknowledge the challenge to the rest of us to offer voters a better choice than what they have so far had.

Who, we ask, has the balls of Mr Bentley to step up to the plate in Wolfville? Our school is at risk in Wolfville, as is everything that makes Wolfville attractive, because we are pricing ourselves out of the market; Council is fiddling while Rome Wolfville burns. We certainly hope there is someone out there who cares enough, who will sacrifice some time and effort, who will “take arms against a sea of troubles” and run for office to offer us plebs some choice, preferably 6 or 7 brave souls of the calibre at least of Mr. Bentley.

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