The Burk’s Falls Accommodation Review Committee has to pick from three options on what to do with area schools. One of which is closing Land of Lakes Public School, which services grade seven and eight students. During the ARC’s third public meeting at Land of Lakes Public School last night, shop teacher Steve Tompkins says Land of Lakes shouldn’t close because their skilled trades program is important to their community.
The second option the ARC is considering is closing M.A. Wittick, keeping Magnetawan Central open, moving JK to six students to Land of Lakes and sending Land of Lakes’ seven and eight students back to their home schools.
The last option is what the Near North District School Board prefers, which is to close M.A. Wittick and Magnetawan Central and send the grade seven and eights to Almaguin Highlands Secondary School.
However, most parents are not keen on sending the grade seven and eights to high school. Suzanne Learn tells the story of her 10-year-old’s son, whose number one goal this past Christmas was making Santa happy.
The board also wants to close M.A. Wittick and Mangetawan Central.
Meanwhile, The ARC’s facilitator is getting a bad rap from residents. Paul Addie was called out on his inappropriate comments about a local parent drinking too much wine. Rob Learn was one of many who criticized Addie’s behaviour.
Other parents have also accused Addie of having a subjective approach when facilitating the ARC meetings. Addie says everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Addie says the Ministry of Education designed the process and the Near North District School Board has hired him to mediate that process.
The ARC will have a caucus meeting on February 26th, which is closed to the public. The fourth and final public meeting will be held on March 19th.