The South Shore Regional School Board (SSRSB) has filed an application to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal regarding the decision of Honourable Justice Mona Lynch in the case of the Town of Bridgewater versus South Shore Regional School Board Judicial Review Application.
On November 10, 2016, the Town of Bridgewater filed a notice for Judicial Review of the September 28, 2016, decision of the South Shore Regional School Board to reconfigure grades 10, 11 and 12 at Bridgewater Junior Senior High School and Park View Education Centre by combining all students at Park View Education Centre.
The parties were in court on December 20, 2016, when South Shore Regional School Board filed a motion to dismiss the Judicial Review Application of the Town of Bridgewater.
The Board asserts the Town does not have legal standing to initiate a judicial review of the Board’s operational decision to reconfigure grades. Additionally, the Town filed the Application for Judicial Review late, past the deadline required by procedural rules. The appeal is based on the Town’s standing.
“The SSRSB has authority under the provincial Education Act to make operational decisions, such as grade reconfigurations. We constantly look at improving program options for students and must uphold our financial responsibility. The Board conducted an extensive consultation process for over a year with 20 representatives from the school communities,” stated Board Chair, Elliott Payzant.
The consultation process included 13 meetings of a School Options Committee, which was comprised of volunteer community members. An additional three special meetings were held by the Board.
At the end of the consultation process, the School Options Committee recommended to the Board that grades 10 to 12 students from Bridgewater Junior Senior High School be moved to Park View Education Centre in September 2017. After three special board meetings to look at the information in detail, the SSRSB agreed. Transition work began in October 2016.
The Board has identified improved programming for high school students in the renovated Park View Education Centre and an estimated yearly savings of over $300,000. “By consolidating students in the space available at Park View, we estimate a yearly savings of over $300,000. That much saved each year will have a positive impact for all students in the region,” said Mr. Payzant.
“The Board consulted extensively, considered all the information available, and developed an excellent plan for grades Primary to 12 students in the Bridgewater area. Beginning September 2017, students from grades Primary to 9 will attend the current Bridgewater Elementary and Junior / Senior High Schools while students in grades 10 to 12 will attend the newly renovated Park View Education Centre,” stated Superintendent, Scott Milner.
Student enrolment projections for September 2017 show approximately 670 students in grades Primary to 9 at Bridgewater Elementary, Junior / Senior High School and 850 students at Park View Education Centre.
The Superintendent also stated his concern about the mounting legal costs for both the SSRSB and the Town of Bridgewater. “This takes dollars away from the classroom and I assume, from the operational budget of the Town,” said Mr. Milner.
For more information contact:
Scott Milner, Superintendent of Schools