Home and school considers future closures in Mount Stewart, Morell area

Steve Sharratt
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Parents do not advocate closing schools but want report in place for that eventuality

Mount Stewart Consolidated School

MOUNT STEWART — Three home and school groups have taken steps to compile a report regarding the possible and future closing of another small school in eastern Prince Edward Island.

“We’re not proposing the closure of any school,’’ said home and school president Linda Craig. “But we’re certainly aware that such a thing could happen sometime in the future.”

The report is a joint effort with home and school groups of Mount Stewart Consolidated, Morell Consolidated and the Morell Regional High School where enrolment numbers have dipped to 164, 198 and 226 in that order.

The province took steps to close 10 small schools in 2009 in an effort to reduce expenses and consolidate services. The closures caused major controversy at the time.

“If enrolment continues to drop we all know the government will likely consider another cutback one day and so we wanted to prepare our own report on what to do about it,’’ said Craig, noting the options are now being discussed.

The home and school discussed the issue Monday night and some residents say they fear Mount Stewart school is already earmarked and would get the axe since Morell consolidated is closer to the regional high school.

The recommendation to close the Mount Stewart school is a last resort, says Craig.

“It’s one of many contained in a report that we don’t agree with,’’ she said. “We’re not proposing that our school be closed, but it is suggested as the last resort in this report.”

Craig said there is a community controversy over any school closure and Mount Stewart does not agree with the recommendation.

Craig said the report is simply a discussion paper and there has been no vote or decision made.

Organizations: Mount Stewart school

Geographic location: MOUNT STEWART, Eastern Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • jerry
    January 09, 2014 - 07:48

    Soon they will be able to reduce our school system as follows: a k-12 school for all of Kings County (near Pooles Corner - close all the others), a k-12 school for eastern Queens County (near Mount Albion - close all others), two k-12 schools for Charlottetown (close all others), a k-12 school for western Queens County (repurpose Bluefield), a k-12 school for east Prince (near Wilmot Valley - close all others), a k-12 school for west Prince (near Portage - close all others).

  • Earl Affleck
    January 08, 2014 - 17:18

    I reviewed the report and question some of the information in the report and feel the consultants should have added a few foot notes for clarity. 1. Morell Consolidated can accomodate 425 students at approx. 36 thousan sq.ft. Morell High can only accomodate 500 students at 66 thousand sq.ft. Mount Stewart at approx 29 thousand can only accomodate 225 students. My question would be how were the student population numbers arrived at and what was the formula used to arrive at these numbers.I find it hard to believe that a school was built in Morell by at that time a district school board for 425 students when it did not include the students from Canavoy or Savage Harbour. In 1967 if I remember correctly they attended Mount Stewart. I know my grandson is on the bus now for over 1 plus hour coming from Pisquid to Mount Stewart a seven minute drive on a good day.How long will it take to get to Morell, he may as well enroll in Charlottetown and travel with is parents.

    • don
      January 09, 2014 - 05:32

      maybe thats the idea have the kids go to the ghiz family school. and i wonder how many more schools will close before the next election? but maybe he will not allow them to close to make it look like he "cares" with closing them wes will have more money to give away, it is not that he loans it he gives it away to liberal family members.

  • rural res
    January 08, 2014 - 15:51

    I agree with both peter and maxine,hugh seems to have an awful lot of exact imformation,seems like an inside track,mount stewart has a very vibrant and healthy school enrollment and numbers for next year say the same thing,we all wants what is best for our children when it comes to education,and as peter said all the promises made last time the Govt closed schools are gone and by closing buildings the education has not improved,in my mind this is another attack on rural PEI,and I also wonder why one community should get it all and another loose out,and in my mind none of the parties involved should have went to media,i know it was agreed in mt stewart to make no comments until it was necessary to do so,i am wondering why this changed from Monday night to Yesterday afternoon,questions will need to be answered,another way to put community against community,

  • Concerned Parent
    January 08, 2014 - 14:19

    I moved back out to the community of Mt. Stewart so my children could go to school out here. Enrollment in Mt. Stewart School has been going up every year, so why should be have to suffer and close our school when Morell enrollment (as per the report) is going down.

  • don
    January 08, 2014 - 10:42

    how full is the new school that ghiz build in his area for his kids? i bet it is not full if not close it up tear it down.

  • Peter Llewellyn
    January 08, 2014 - 08:53

    I would be very, very concerned about this if I was a resident in the district. If I were to guess how this came about ---I would suggest the group was offered funding to do the study by the education dept as a way to find the students better education programs and were told there is no plans to close schools. The offer would have come through an individual to test the waters and a letter would have followed The Dept would have suggested a "Consultant" they would pay to "Help" the Home and School put it together, as their time is valuable. The Home and School and Council should be aware that this Game was played exactly the same way before and the results have not helped the students or the communities where they live. I truly hope thing turn out for the best

    • HUGH
      January 08, 2014 - 11:19

      Peter, your school in Georgetown has only 74 students (k-8) and should also be closed. Your school is almost 60 years old and is only 5 miles from the newer k-6 school in Cardigan which is less than half full with only 108 students.

    • Peter Llewellyn
      January 08, 2014 - 14:30

      Well Hugh I have seen your position a number on times on the small school issue and would assume from the comments that you are with the education dept in some capacity . Trying to divert the story to Georgetown is simply another way to avoid the underlying issues facing Mount Steward . The same issue facing all of us on both sides of the bridge and they are rezoning to insure student in their districts use the schools provided , poor education quality, lack of accountability by educators, exceptionally poor management of the dept all of these thing are impacting students . So the plan is lets close some building and everything will be fine. It did not work 4 years ago and will not work now. For example 4 years it was said combined class destroyed key collaboration between teachers so we closed schools . Now the dept says combined classes in the city are needed to facilitate collaboration? We can not continue to be diverted into this debate while our students are short changed by People not buildings

  • hugh
    January 08, 2014 - 08:37

    All 554 students from these three schools could easily be enrolled in the two large schools in Morell. Morell Regional High should contain grades 7-12 and Morell Consolidated should contain grades k-6. Island taxpayers can not afford to keep schools that are half full open.

    • Maxine Doucette
      January 08, 2014 - 09:40

      You seem to have very exact numbers Hugh, Also, Mount Stewart School is not half full, it has a very healthy number of students attending and the Watson report states that enrollment in Mt Stewart Consolidated will rise by 13% between 2012/13 and 2017/18 and by an additional 8% between 2017/18 and 2022/23. Remember, some of those "Island Taxpayers" your are talking about live in rural PEI and pay taxes to keep such a facility in their community and why should one community have it all?

    • geography man
      January 08, 2014 - 10:10

      A single K-12 school should have been built at Dingwells Mills. Then you could have closed every school in northern Kings County. Repurpose Montague High School to a K-12 school and close every school in southern Kings County.

    • Patty van Diepen
      January 08, 2014 - 17:57

      The issue is a little deeper than numbers and buildings. I think it is a good idea for the rural residents involved to have a voice in shaping the future of their own communities. I hope we all can take a breath and look at the big picture and all the surrounding concerns. I would propose that both Mt.Stewart and Morell Cons become k-9 facilities . This would help strengthen both communities and keep our younger children within our own communities. The curriculum up to grade nine is the same wherever you go to school. If there is any need for change it lies with our senior high students who could benefit going to larger centers with more varied and advanced course choices , more school sport opportunities and more trade options. This is not just about numbers and buildings but communities and people.

  • Trish
    January 08, 2014 - 03:50

    I find it extremely disappointing that small communities have to stress about something like this. It is in no way their fault, they are looking at the realities of our government. It is very clear what really matters to the government of PEI; And our children are definitely among those on the bottom of their list.

  • don
    January 07, 2014 - 23:03

    so glad to hear it. ghiz and wes can save more money. next will be all schools outside of s'side and ch'town will be closed. this is good for all liberal voters. you see the board is a patronage jobs by ghiz the same as irac they do as they are told. bye bye schools. or maybe this is a vote idea as i'm sure they will need 3 years to study this then the election lol. i love it close them down this year.

  • Anita MacDougall
    January 07, 2014 - 18:54

    While this is a disheartening step to consider and feels like another cut to the community with a knife, it is prudent to seriously examine options while you have options rather than be forced into something later on. Being prepared may ensure that the community can create positive changes on their own terms. Cheers to the Home and School for stepping out like this