04/26/10 – By Angelo Mazziotti
It was a little gathering of people with a lot of passion for education. Dovercourt Junior Public School set the stage for a final ARC (Accommodation Review Committee) meeting to decide the fates of Kent Senior Public School and Dovercourt Public School.
TDSB Board members were greeted by angry protesters armed with placards and bumper stickers; their message, save our schools. Angry parent Gabriela Gonzalez said she was fed up.
“I’m livid,” said Gonzalez. “I’m astonished and I refuse to believe that closing these schools is the answer. We live in a very developed and industrialized province. They can’t just close schools like this.”
Both schools been recommended to close permanently and move students to Brockton High School. The daycare which exists on Kent property will then be relocated to what the TDSB is calling in a report a “retrofitted” Pauline Junior Public School. Something Gonzalez dislikes hearing.
“I think it’s disgusting,” Gonzalez said. “It’s our children that have to pay. Only cowards would pick on vulnerable children.”
Parent and former ARC member Frank Consiglio also voiced his concern.
“Kent has been proposed to be closed, Bloor has been proposed to be closed, and those two schools are very good and valuable schools,” said Consiglio. “The only reason why they are being closed is because of their value.”
He went on to suggest that closing Brockton would be a much more viable option.
“Brockton looks like a prison,” Consiglio stated. “The only reason why it’s not being closed is because it is not worth as much money.”
TDSB trustee Maria Rodrigues sympathises with concerned parents.
“Personally I am opposed to school closures,” said Rodrigues. “I want what is best for the students here in ward 9.”
She went on to say that the board feels that Brockton would be the best site to coordinate a “new Kent.”
When asked about Consiglio’s suggestion of closing Brockton as an alternative, Rodrigues said it was listened to and discussed but was out of her hands.
“That concern is outside of this ARC’s parameters,” said Rodrigues. “We are just here to discuss Kent.”
Rodrigues said the recommendations will now be reviewed by the school board and the school board will In turn make recommendations based on the information gathered and presented on May 19. A final vote will then take place on June 23.
Article By Angelo Mazziotti
Video By Gurpreet Ghag and Matthew Lopes