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Thread: Rally for Community Schools - April 13, 2010

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    Default Rally for Community Schools - April 13, 2010

    Rally for Community Schools

    The Community Schools Coalition, Edmonton, invites you to show your support for great education in great neighbourhoods on Tuesday, April 13th.

    We will meet on the sidewalk in front of EPSB headquarters, the blue building on Kingsway Avenue across from the Royal Alexandra Hospital, shortly after 5 p.m. Please bring a sign if you'd like -- or just attend to let politicians know that you favour revitalization and community partnerships, not school closure.

    Starting at 6 p.m., trustees will consider an administrative recommendation to close half of the public schools in Edmonton's inner city: McCauley, Parkdale and Eastwood (additionally Spruce Avenue would lose all elementary-level programming) and half of the public schools in the Hardisty area, including Fulton Place and Capilano.

    The move is being contemplated despite city plans to increase the number of children living in established communities through family-oriented redevelopment. This spring and fall, the EPSB will review more than 70 additional schools for possible closure.

    As an alternative to boarded-up buildings, various not-for-profit groups and child care and early education providers have offered partnerships that would fill much of the facility space that the district is not currently using for instructional purposes.

    Your presence on April 13th will show trustees that these creative and sustainable solutions are better options than silencing the heartbeat of a neighbourhood.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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    Hope there is a great turnout. Any media on this event?
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    630 CHED contacted me about my post... so probably.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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    Sarah McConnell from the Journal has been working on a series of articles about the closures as well.

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    If they have to close a few schools, I hope the McCauley one is kept open, otherwise the struggling neighbourhood would go down the toilet. Eastwood and Parkdale could well be combined, leaving only one open. Capilano is a nice area, but it has enough schools so the loss of one (or even two) would hurt less. Let us hope something good comes out of this rally....... have you guys coontacted the local councillors (with the new ward system, they will have to fight for every vote in their area. me thinks)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cal76 View Post
    If they have to close a few schools, I hope the McCauley one is kept open, otherwise the struggling neighbourhood would go down the toilet. Eastwood and Parkdale could well be combined, leaving only one open. Capilano is a nice area, but it has enough schools so the loss of one (or even two) would hurt less. Let us hope something good comes out of this rally....... have you guys coontacted the local councillors (with the new ward system, they will have to fight for every vote in their area. me thinks)?
    A loss of one or even two schools would hurt less? The board wants to close a school that has an attendance of over 200 kids (Fulton) and are asking the parents to then send their children to a junior high school that does not have age appropriate play facilities for the younger children. Would you send your child to a school that only has a paved fenced in courtyard to play in?

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    Here's a letter I just wrote to the appropriate school trustees and city councillors:

    Hello,

    I’m writing you as a current resident of downtown, but a prospective resident of Alberta Avenue. My wife and I are very interested in moving to one of Edmonton’s wonderful inner-city neighbourhoods and starting our family there – much as families have been doing in that area for over 100 years. There is a growing trend among people in my generation to reconnect with urban life, explore mature areas, and pursue residential infill where necessary. There are many reasons for this macro-trend – be it proximity to work, a lower carbon footprint, more time spent with family, walkable neighbourhoods, etc.

    I am extremely dismayed at the news that Edmonton Public Schools is considering shutting down the very conduits for neighbourhood renewal – their elementary schools. Originally constructed as the most urgent and necessary constituents of any proper neighbourhood, these beautiful buildings illustrate a simpler way of life we’ve seemed to lose along the way. For current and future residents, losing them will mean a death blow to urban revitalization for perhaps generations to come. Personally speaking, I know that my wife and I will think twice about rolling up our sleeves and helping with urban renewal in that area – not because that prospect frightens us, but because our children will not have a neighbourhood school to walk to.

    How on earth can municipal government deem urban renewal a key priority on one hand, while simultaneously condemning it on the other? It is completely counter-intuitive and contrary to any reasonable analysis.

    If this is a matter of budgeting and finding dollars, this is an area I have some professional experience in. Let me say bluntly, if dollars are your major constraint, you simply are not being creative enough. I will gladly volunteer my help to come up with solutions to this problem, if you will accept it.

    Too many times in public policy we take the easy, more palatable road. But sometimes, we need to stand up for something with the knowledge that future generations will thank us for our prescience. This decision will not be easily undone, and could have consequences far beyond the here and now.

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    ^ Really good thoughts, parker...
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    The second newsletter for the Community Schools Rally is available at http://bit.ly/cpoA6B.

    From it...

    Seven of Nine Fully Assimilated

    Asked to provide a statement of personal values that will guide their decision-making for the school closure vote, seven of nine trustees have declined, instead submitting a joint declaration of their faith in the process.

    Trustees Dave Colburn and Sue Huff were the only elected officials to speak their minds. They pledged to put the needs of children before those of the institution and to respect the views of people in the affected neighbourhoods.

    Said Trustee Colburn: "in the best interests of this community..."

    Said Trustee Huff: "in the best interests of children..."

    Said Seven of Nine: "in the best interests of the corporation..."

    The statements were collected by award-winning Edmonton Journal education reporter Sarah O'Donnell.
    Question: Are elected officials supposed represent their constituents or the administration?
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