School District 51 postpones decision on middle school implementation

School District 51’s (SD51) board of education unanimously voted to postpone any decision on the implementation of a middle school.

School District 51 trustee Cathy Riddle (right) and the board will take their time in regards to a local middle school.

School District 51 trustee Cathy Riddle (right) and the board will take their time in regards to a local middle school.

School District 51’s (SD51) board of education unanimously voted to postpone any decision on the implementation of a middle school during its regular board meeting on Nov. 6.

The decision to change Dr. D. A. Perley Elementary School to a middle school will be discussed at a meeting in February 2013, but there will be no decision to implement any plans any earlier than the 2014-2015 school year.

Board chair Teresa Rezansoff explained to trustees that she didn’t feel there was a big rush from the public to switch to a middle school

“I think we need more time to discuss the issue of a middle school,” she said. “The feeling from the (consultation) forums, both last spring and in October, showed there were still a lot of questions to be looked at.”

The proposed plan would see a switch at Perley Elementary School to Grade 6 to 8 students, with Kindergarten to Grade 5 at J. A. Hutton Elementary School and Grand Forks Secondary School switching to Grade 9 to 12. At the moment, Christina Lake Elementary School is not included in the proposal and would remain a Kindergarten to Grade 7 school.

Trustee Cathy Riddle noted the school board is not ready to begin the transition period.

“We need to take our time, and that’s fine,” she said.

Norm Sabourin, the Boundary District Teachers’ Association president, reiterated the board that there was no rush to implement the middle school.

“I really believe that this board wants to do it,” he said. “But if this is going to happen, do it for all the right reasons and in the right ways; really consider slowing it down.”

The verdict was surprising to Sabourin, who pointed out after the meeting that it didn’t seem like the school board would take their time.

“I was under the impression that they wouldn’t slow down,” he said. “I am pleased that they will take the time to slow down and see where it will lead. I’m not against the middle school, and if it’s done for the right reasons, it can work but there really isn’t any need to rush.”

Teachers who are interested in finding out more about the concept of middle schools will be going on a two-day trip to Aldergrove Middle School scheduled for Nov. 22 to 23.