It wasn’t that long ago that our mayor assured the townspeople that Wolfville school was safe. Not that he has any control over what happens to the school except by way of adopting town policies which either encourage a healthy school population or don’t.
The Annapolis Valley Regional School Board (AVRSB) has the authority to make decisions affecting Wolfville School and “After gathering feedback from school communities” has come up with 3 options. The options are probably a big surprise to those who petitioned the AVRSB on the future of the respective schools in the consultative phase of the Review Process; the propositions outlined don’t match the tone of that phase which was all data gathering, patient listening, reassurance, sweetness and light, followed by hollow promises.
Since the initial consultative phase, Nova Scotia announced new schools construction and capital renovations to a number of schools in the region.
In January of 2009, the AVRSB approved new grade configurations superintendent of schools Margo Tait says will impact on the school review process. Preferred grade configurations were amended to include primary to grade five for elementary schools, grades six to eight for middle schools and grades nine to 12 for high schools. emph ours.
One might wonder why these new grade configurations weren’t thought of before the Review process so this factor could be included before school construction and renovation promises were made to the public. But that’s water under the bridge isn’t it?
Wolfville and area parents are now faced with 3 options, two of which are not very hopeful for continuation of the present grade range at the local school.
The first option would be to create a separate middle school serving all students in grades six to eight presently attending Hantsport, L.E. Shaw, Wolfville and Gaspereau Elementary. This would involve converting L.E. Shaw to a standalone middle school and redistributing the primary to grade five population of that school to the other three schools. This would require some renovations to L.E. Shaw.
This would mean loss of the middle grade in Wolfville School but an influx of primary school students here coming from further afield.
The second option would be to convert Gaspereau, Hantsport and L.E. Shaw to Primary to five chools, with all grade six, seven and eight students consolidated at Wolfville in a primary to eight configuration. This would allow for a consolidated middle school program at Wolfville, but would have to be delayed until anticipated renovations there are completed in 2016.
This is the only option in which Wolfville school retains the primary to eight configuration and would probably be the ones local parents would like but is it likely? The delay is a significant one; the facilities at Wolfville school are very outdated and could not carry the burden without renovation.
Under the third option, students in grades six, seven and eight would be housed at Hantsport in a primary to eight configuration, with Gaspereau, L.E. Shawand Wolfville all becoming primary to grade five schools. Wolfville would be the most affected in this scenario, becoming smaller than in the first option but, as in that option, would have the opportunity to create more exterior space for the school’s students.
This we would think is the most likely scenario as it is the least costly although the cost of busing students should be taken into account. It doesn’t look good for our school does it?
Already parents are concerned that loss of the middle school here will make Wolfville less attractive and the transport of children is also a safety concern. A move is afoot to influence the decision of the board with an appeal to residents to speak up by contacting the board
[This section with name and e-mail of another contact has been removed on request]
Together with the Town? We would say that this threat is the logical conclusion of town policy for the past decade or so.
High cost housing, high taxation rates, deed transfer taxes, and high cost recreation facilities don’t really encourage young families. Being a Fair Trade Town, a no-uranium mining town and having no smoking by-laws don’t help. We are in competition with Hantsport and Avonport which may be more attractive in other ways.
It is no consolation to us to say we told you so. What’s past is past but it is discouraging to see no understanding of underlying causes and the same mistakes being repeated year after year.