The new English Language School Board is off and running and one of its first orders of business is to look at rezoning for some eastern schools.
During the board’s first meeting on Tuesday night in Stratford, chair Fred Osborne announced the establishment of a committee to look at rezoning for Morell Consolidated School and Donagh Regional School.
But board Osborne said it was just preliminary work and didn’t necessarily mean there would be changes coming.
“This is not a major plan or revision being meant here,” he said.
Trustees David Mitchell, Cindy McCardle and Lori St. Onge will be on the rezoning committee.
The board’s first public meeting since it took over at the first of the month lasted about 20 minutes and was conducted in front of about 20 people, many of whom were board staff.
Education Minister Alan McIsaac also made a brief appearance at the start of the meeting to address the board and left when he finished speaking.
Education ministers traditionally don’t attend school board meetings.
With the rezoning committee established, the new board is tackling an issue that was often contentious for the former Eastern School District after several schools closed.
But the former board didn’t get the chance to fully address rezoning before former education minister Doug Currie disbanded it and appointed an official trustee in its place.
Some trustees from the old board expressed concern at the time that delaying rezoning might lead to more school closures.
Osborne said the new board’s mandate is governance and it isn’t looking at school closures.
“We have not even broached that subject yet,” he said.
With the board now set to conduct regular meetings, it is also establishing a meeting schedule and the locations will alternate between the board offices in Summerside and Stratford.
Before the former Western School Board and Eastern School District amalgamated, their boards usually held meetings at different schools in their regions.
Osborne said the hope is that more people will attend the meetings once they get used to a regular schedule of where they will be held.
“We’re trying to get some continuity and schedule in place for people to become familiar with it,” he said.
For McIsaac, he told the board it was an excellent group with a lot of talent.
“I know you have a humongous job ahead of you,” he said.
McIsaac also told the members they weren’t there to represent specific parts of the board.
“We represent everyone,” he said.