A lot of people are livid with the Regina Board Of Education’s decision earlier this week to close Connaught school. The disagreement isn’t so much that the building is either currently or imminently unfit — everyone agrees (I think) on that. The problem is that a lot of people in the community believe the board made up its mind years ago to get rid of another old school (see also: Herchmer), and it achieved this goal NOT through open debate on the merits of a particular vision but through deliberate stalling on repairs that ignored pleas to salvage the building.
The perception is, then, that anti-Connaught board members knew they might lose a fair fight so they got their way through sabotage.
Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. But that’s the perception.
Anyway, Facebook and Twitter wrath has been white-hot. Earlier this week, O’Hanlon’s pub owner Niall O’Hanlon, who has kids at the school, wrote a blistering condemnation of the board’s decision.
With permission, I’m reprinting an edited version — toned down, at Niall’s request.
Dear School Board,
I’m just home from the March 25 board meeting I attended with my daughter. My anger and disgust regarding Ecole Connaught is indescribable.
The lack of transparency and accountability that public school board and administration have shown in this situation is amazing. I knew the day that “temporary options” were presented to us that you’d already selected Wascana School, as this was the cheapest and easiest for you. However, tonight you pretended to listen, as that is what’s expected of public officials.
That you sat there and listened to those presentations, all along having predetermined your course of action, is hypocritical.
I will not allow the incompetence of the Regina Board of Education to negatively affect my family any longer. You can take the O’Hanlon children off your busing plans for September 2014 as they will be moving to Ecole St. Pius next school year. I will contact the City of Regina first thing tomorrow morning to start the process of changing my school tax designation ($1500.00 per year) to the separate school board, as I will not contribute another cent to any of your salaries or expenses. I will also encourage my family and friends to do the same.
I’m sure none of you entered your profession aspiring to make life difficult for children and their families. But take a hard look at where you have arrived, as that is where we see you at.
Don’t feel the need to respond, as the public school board chapter in my family’s lives officially ended March 25, 2014.
Regina Board of Education trustees and administration know they’ve pissed off Cathedral activists and don’t seem to care. Maybe they’ll care that they’ve angered a popular and successful local business owner.
Then again, maybe driving off engaged parents is exactly what they want to achieve.