Simons says he needs ‘proper information’

A Clearview School Division trustee has qualified his motion to close three small schools in the district

Byemoor School is among three schools in jeopardy of being closed by the Clearview School Division.

Byemoor School is among three schools in jeopardy of being closed by the Clearview School Division.

A Clearview School Division trustee has qualified his motion to close three small schools in the district — Brownfield, Byemoor and Donalda.

“This motion is not about closing schools permanently, or pitting communities against one another for funding,” Peter Simons said late last week.

“Invoking the closure process under the School Act is necessary to ensure that the (school) board has all options open to it and that it receives the timely, comprehensive and accurate information it needs to make an informed decision that will be best for the educational options of all children in Clearview.

“I need to have proper information.”

All three communities involved have reacted strongly to the Oct. 25 motion, vowing they’ll fight to save their schools and community identities.

The motion was tabled until this Thursday’s meeting, which is open to the public and is scheduled to include presentations from each community’s representatives.

Simons said he recognizes that there’s disagreement in how to achieve a review of the small schools and the financial losses that Clearview has incurred.

“This is the option I have chosen.”

On its website, the school board reveals it approved a preliminary budget last May that showed an expected deficit of $743,344.

The fall budget is scheduled to be presented at this Thursday’s meeting and is expected to contain more relevant data, because it’s based on current rather than projected enrolments.

Board chairman Ken Checkel said he encourages people to attend Thursday’s public meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

The protests from the three communities directly affected show no signs of cooling off.

Each of the communities has held local meetings and has appointed delegations to represent their interests at today’s meeting at the school board office in Stettler.