Steve and I just got back from the public meeting. It was crowded: a few hundred people were packed into the middle-school gym.
Dozens of parents spoke at the microphone. Many were angry, but a few seemed genuinely confused about why we would be asked to give up a school.
Teachers spoke passionately about the need to put students first and to provide appropriate programming at all levels.
The minister was there, too. He didn't really give any answers, but he spoke after people asked questions. Fundamentally, he was unable to convince anyone that he was right. It didn't help that he kept talking about "business cases" and making vague statements about closing schools entirely.
I am not sure what will happen next. I did not hear from anyone with an opposing point of view, so I honestly don't know what parents from the other school board think about this. I can say that there was consensus tonight on several points:
- We are happy to share space with the other board. We would welcome any of their students into our schools.
- We are unwilling to empty one of our schools and hand it over to the other board, even on a temporary basis.
- We are confused about how it got to this point, and we think that sharing space is an obvious solution. It doesn't make sense to us that our schools aren't good enough to share, but they're good enough to take.