Gore Hill Parents Say No To School Board Recommendation

Gore Hill Public School parents are fighting back against a school board recommendation.

The board's latest accommodation review calls for the consolidation of Gore Hill and M.D. Bennie public schools in Leamington with all the students going to a newly built school on the current M.D. Bennie property.

Gore Hill parents feel moving their children to an urban setting could be tough.

Parent Jodi Foster says the school is known for its outdoor learning environment.

"Our students are proud of having that environmental aspect brought into the educational side of things and we really would hate to lose it. We don't see this type of environment at any of the other schools in Leamington. So to have Gore Hill amalgamated in with a town school, we're going to lose that."

Foster adds, other schools are trying to create what Gore Hill already has.

"Across the province and really across the country, when you look at what different school boards are trying to do in their school yards, they're trying to recreate what Gore Hill has already done. So why are we going to do that? To me that just doesn't make sense. We have it, we've got it in our backyard. It would be a shame to waste it."

Parent Donna Stickles says the community doesn't want to lose its small school.

"It's maybe not within the buildings, but there's definitely community felt. There's a lot of volunteering that goes on with our school. There's a lot of parent involvement and the kids are very much involved. When you're somebody who grew up in a rural setting, you want to stay in a rural setting and you want that for your own children."

Dozens of Gore Hill parents and students attended a school board meeting Wednesday night to voice their concerns.

The Leamington schools accommodation review also recommends the closure of Mill Street Public School with its students going to Mount Carmel and Queen Elizabeth, the introduction of a French immersion program at Gore Hill, a new school or addition at Queen Elizabeth and several boundary changes.

A final decision on all the recommendations will be made at a board meeting June 8 at Leamington District Secondary School at 8:30pm.