Board prefers 55 meetings in Miscouche?

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English School Board superintendent Cynthia Fleet

Filing individual grievances, one-on-one meetings make no sense, would be a colossal waste of time

Something doesn’t make sense in the lingering dispute between the Miscouche Concerned Parents Group and its attempts to address concerns at the school. A majority of parents at Miscouche Consolidated School, 55 to be exact, have signed a petition seeking a new principal. Parents have a wide list of complaints and concerns, dating back a number of months. Attempts to discuss those complaints with school board superintendent Cynthia Fleet and Education Minister Alan McIsaac have largely failed.

The issue became public last week only because the group brought its concerns to the Opposition, which used the information to hammer the minister in the legislature.

The two sides in the Miscouche dispute are at an impasse over what seems to be a simple procedure. The concerned parents group wants a meeting with the superintendent and minister to present its case. It’s a reasonable request. But the superintendent has replied that parents must file grievances individually and meet one-on-one with the board. The minister backs up the board’s stance, saying proper procedure and protocols must be followed.

What rubbish. Concerns follow a similar pattern in the school. They can be dealt with as a group. The board might be reticent about meeting 200 upset parents and family members in a public meeting, but this isn’t what the group wants.

Does it make sense for the superintendent and board officials to sit down for 55 separate meetings with parents to hear the same complaints and arguments over and over and over? Or does it make more sense for the board to have one meeting with several spokespersons from the group, let them present their complaints, select representative examples, discuss them and move towards a resolution?

If procedures and protocols are preventing this from happening, then turf them. They don’t make any sense, at least in this situation. Parents are quite willing for two or three members to sit down with the board in a private setting. One can be assured that if parents came in for a one-on-one meeting, he or she would face a phalanx of officials across the table. Why won’t the minister and the local MLA meet with the group’s representatives?

It’s time for the board and government to do the job they were elected or paid to do and make the education of children their top priority.


Report should be released


When is a report not a report? Apparently whenever Environment Minister Janice Sherry says so. The minister is refusing to release the opinion provided by her environmental advisory council on the controversial issue of deep-water wells. She says it’s not a report, simply an opinion which was never meant to be made public. Well, there is a recommendation or opinion from an influential group whom the minister consulted when the request to lift a moratorium on the deep-water well issue first came across her desk in late 2012.

The council obviously wouldn’t come to a simple subjective opinion. It reviewed the science and other factors and came to a sound argument that was presented in a document to the minister. It’s called a report. And she should release it. If an expert environmental group can’t stand by its opinions or conclusions, then Ms. Sherry has bigger problems on this issue than first thought. Ms. Sherry explained she merely asked her council members for their individual views, using them as a sounding board. If all she wanted to hear was the extent of public support or opposition to lifting the moratorium, a public relations polling firm might have been more applicable.

Organizations: Miscouche Concerned Parents Group, Miscouche Consolidated School

Geographic location: Miscouche

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Recent comments

  • Worried Summerside resident
    May 10, 2014 - 10:48

    Any parent of a Summerside student from grade 1 to 9 should be concerned about this issue at Miscouche school. Teacher allocation has been given to all schools in the last week based on numbers currently in the schools. If this issue isn't resolved, look for a flood of transfers out of Miscouche into the Summerside schools. Miscouche will be sitting with the teachers allocated from this week and the other schools will be overcrowded without the teaching allocation. The teaching allocation adjustment won't happen until at least November. Hardly fair to everyone from Miscouche to Summerside that the School Board won't resolve this issue and it will affect so many children both this year and next in Summerside and Miscouche.

  • concerned
    May 10, 2014 - 10:10

    i have done these meetings before and nothing came from it,, they are very good at twisting stories around and making you look like the one in the wrong,, how would it be fair to have one against three for first thing,, theres 55 concerned parents so hold a meeting with at least half of the parents at once!!! then maybe there would be more willing to speak up in the works,, it needs to be in fair settings,, the one on one doesnt work at all,,it took the parents group to get the signatures to actually get somewhere with this they need to stick together through the whole thing,, not be split up and words twisted,, one on one got no where before so time to stick together!!!

  • Island resident
    May 09, 2014 - 21:05

    Some of these parents' concerns go back more than two years, not months. Had the board addressed these issues when they first arose this would be a non-issue. The idea of meeting with three representatives from the board (who are bound to be intimidating) no doubt terrifies many of these parents: I know it would me. Thank you, Guardian, for seeing through the hogwash and recognizing what is a sensible solution to the problem.

  • Sandra Laughlin
    May 09, 2014 - 20:58

    Did anyone contact the Village Council and ask them to get involved? I live in this community and my son goes to this school and this is the first I am hearing of this group and I am in this school at least twice a week. This principal has been nothing but trouble since he arrived at this school and I have had several run ins with him regarding my child. I wanted him to change schools but he wanted to finish his junior high years with his friends. I know one thing if my father was alive this man would have been given his walking papers long ago....with or without the village councils help....Ridiculous!!

  • Sandra Laughlin
    May 09, 2014 - 20:46

    Someone should explain proper policies and procedures to Mr. MacDonald....the principal at this school.....when he told my son he could not play in the biggest basketball tournament of the year....without giving him a reason...I get a call from my 12 year old son who was extremely upset at lunch time over this....not only did Mr. MacDonald NOT call me to notify me of the time I got to the school at noon he was gone away for Christmas vacation...he is a coward and a bully and should be working at a military basic training academy and not with the children in this school...get gone already!!

  • Concerned
    May 09, 2014 - 20:37

    I don't understand why the village council in Miscouche doesn't get involved and insist on a resolution to this matter. This ongoing issue will affect property values as young families won't want their children attending that school with those conditions. I've already heard of parents attempting to transfer to other schools. School board move these offenders into the board office for a project, send your best principal in for the rest of the year, and allow these children to get their education in a supportive environment. Cynthia Fleet do the job that they brought you in from another province to do!

    May 09, 2014 - 14:36

    They obviously have been told not to meet with the parents as it could affect the job of a family member of someone in office. Also the statement used the wording PROPER PROCEDURE AND PROTOCOLS MUST BE FOLLOWED. This policy appears to apply only to non elected people as you see this Government and their lackeys changing procedures daily to fit their needs. RIGHT ROBERT.

  • peggy
    May 09, 2014 - 13:00

    Every time I see articles and letters like the above I shake my head. We have 140,000 people on PEI and enough "Ministers of the Crown" and bureaucrats to service a population of at least a million people or more. Yet we have "Ministers" who refuse to speak to constituents, refuse to issue prepared reports and otherwise act as though they were the minions and line workers within departments. What is worse is that many have neither education or qualifications for the portfolios they purport to carry. Look at so many of them and look at the ones here. Ms Sherry approved the environmental plan for Plan B. She is the Attorney General or Minister of Justice - and what does she have to qualify her for such roles ? Very sad. They cannot blame their indifference or refusal to act on having too many constituents to answer to. PEI MLAs have the fewest constituents of any province and yet they want more money. And MINISTER MacISAAC - what is his excuse for not meeting ? Too much time traveling ? This place needs an overhaul inside and out.