The South East Cornerstone Public School Division trustees heard three presentations and visited with one delegation on Dec. 15 during their regular open business session held in Weyburn.
The four-person delegation came from Pangman, bearing further information about the community that can be used by the trustees who are contemplating the possible closure of the kindergarten to Grade 12 school in that village due in some degree to a decline in enrolment.
The delegates, led by spokesman Brandon Tichkowsky, stated they were certain that school registration drop was only temporary since the village's population was growing and a developer has indicated he is going ahead with a 10 home residential development there rather than pursuing a similar plan in Weyburn.
“He has moved his project to Pangman and he has credentials based on previous projects we learned about in Alberta,” said Tichkowsky. “So growth is happening but students get pulled from a school if parents hear that it's under review. We've already experienced that and others are saying 'why work on our home or build here because we'll probably have to move if there is no school.”
The Pangman group said they wanted to get an indication from the trustees as to how they were learning or feeling about the review process, but chairwoman Carol Flynn said that couldn't be revealed and besides she didn't know what individual trustees were thinking at this stage of the process.
“We really don't know and we don't want to know because right now we're wanting to get as much information as we can from you that will help us make the decision,” said Estevan area trustee Janet Foord. She added that if the trustees had been discussing the impending vote, which will take place in mid-January 2012 then that would be compromising the fairness of the process.
“I don't want to know how the others are leaning right now. I just want to gather information,” said Foord.
“We can't give you feedback, we're not there, but we continue to appreciate your information and presentations,” said Flynn. Pangman has now made three separate appearances before the board as they lobby to keep the school alive in the community. Pangman school currently has about 88 students.
“You have given us an indication of the spirit and vibrancy of your community,” said trustee Harold Laich.
The presentations to the board were provided by Estevan teachers Angela Smeltzer and Michelle Smart, (see related article), superintendent Lynn Little on the First Nations project that engages Ocean Man, Pheasant Rump and White Bear and from education consultants Donna Steeves and Tracey Kiliwnik on responses to intervention, learning supports and student services in the early learning years.
In other board business, the trustees sent a report on the use of defibrillators in schools back to the legal department for more input, noting that the intent is excellent but there were still questions regarding liability issues and responders activities.
The trustees also learned the division had saved about $17,500 in Workers' Compensation Board deductions/claims in the past year thanks to a lowering of the claim rates.
The trustees granted approval for the sale by tender of the Estevan teacherage in the Hillside area of the city which they still owned and was no longer being used for regional purposes. They also approved the sale of a parcel of land they owned in Stoughton to the Town of Stoughton for $5,000 .
Weyburn gained naming rights to the soon-to-be constructed common space in the Weyburn Comprehensive School which is undergoing a $20 million renovation and expansion which will include a community performance centre within the school.
The next board meeting will be held January 19.