Last week we met as a Co-ordinating Committee to deal with outstanding issues. In that meeting we agreed on some key points which we would like to share with all those who supported the campaign to overturn the Board’s decision to close PCVS. These come in no particular order:
- At this juncture we are primarily concerned about the welfare of PCVS students and their transition to their next school in September. While we realize the Board would never allow PNP to have a formal role in advocating for, or supporting our students, we will encourage the Board to bring every possible resource to mitigate the negative impact of this transition.
- Looking back, we know that we conducted our campaign in an honest, thorough and ethical manner throughout.
- We regret the divisiveness that this struggle has created in our community. That divisiveness was set in motion when the Director of Education set up a two-school closure option that predictably pitted one school community against another. Our focus was always on the merits of PCVS; never on criticisms of other schools.
- We are deeply aware of the impact of this decision on the staff of PCVS, some of whom have spent their entire careers at this school – not out of an absence of alternatives but out of a commitment to everything this school stands for. We could not know the depth of their loss and our hearts go out to them.
- We commend the PCVS students and the leadership that emerged during this campaign. We hope that what many students have gained in terms of navigating the choppy waters of democratic principles and peaceful protest will eventually outweigh their sense of grief and loss.
- We continue to believe that the closing of the last school in the downtown core will have a negative impact on the City of Peterborough with its ambitious Central Area, Cultural and Sustainability plans and we remain deeply disappointed that City Council and our MPP did not provide assertive leadership in advocating for the City of Peterborough and in particular, for the health of its downtown.
- With respect to the Board’s September 29th decision, ‘Then, Now and Forever’ we are left with the same question: why would KPR close such an inarguably successful and iconic school?
Looking forward: PNP will dissolve as an organizational structure once we have dealt with all remaining financial issues such as the outstanding FOI’s, final legal fees owing and the outcome of the judges’ decision regarding an award of costs, should one be applied to the 10 Applicants. As previously stated, we will have an independent accountant conduct a final ‘audit’ which will be made available to supporters.
In addition, we will work on a report with recommendations for other communities who may be facing a similar situation. The authors will be soliciting input at a later date.
Right now it is difficult to escape the weight of sadness and the sense of injustice and consequent anger. But from a parallel perspective, we all must know that what we did collectively, driven by a singleness of purpose, was a model of responsible community action in the face of a decision which was made with little regard for the community this Board purports to serve.
Shirl Delarue, Chair, on behalf of the Co-ordinating Committee of ‘Peterborough Needs PCVS’
Mary Anna Zakula
Isabel Henniger (advisor)