Opinion

Parents won’t fight school closing

Resigned to the fate of their school, parents of Aldergrove Elementary will not fight to keep their school from closing.

“We will not be campaigning against the closure of the building that has been Aldergrove Elementary School since 1914,” Cathy Suek told Langley school trustees on Tuesday night.

“It’s safe to say that in June of this year our bells will ring for the last time,” said Suek, who addressed the board on behalf of parents, students and the Parent Advisory Council.

Two years ago, the school community staged a successful campaign that persuaded the board to reject a staff recommendation to close the school because of declining enrolment.

“We felt the decision was based on dollar amounts and the special achievements of our wonderful school were not being taken into consideration,” Suek said.

Last autumn, the board launched a series of community consultation forums that invited parents to see how declining enrolment affected all four elementary schools and Aldergrove Community Secondary.

A consultant hired by the school district concluded at the end of the forums that one of the elementary schools should close.

“We quickly realized the reality of the budget needs and concluded that our school was going to be targeted yet again,” Suek said.

“Although it would be a profound loss to the students and families of our amazing school, we had to agree that any fight would be futile, and keeping us open would only be detrimental to the funding required to educate our children,” she added.

She asked that:

r All students, staff and programs at Aldergrove be relocated to Shortreed Elementary;

r The bus routes which currently serve Shortreed students be expanded to accommodate students from the closed school; and

r A controlled crosswalk be installed at the intersection of 272 Street and 28 Avenue.

Suek made a final request. She asked trustees to “pioneer a new way of looking at school closures” by voting against the bylaw to close the school. Parents want the board to introduce a new motion that reflects the concessions the school community is seeking.

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