I am a parent at Porter Street Elementary, one of those who oppose the sale of school land by School District 43, when it concerns operating, busy schools.
I am writing this letter to highlight something that worries me in the way the school board is handling the land sale and interacting with the parents and residents.
The school board does not tend to apologize for its mistakes, or even to admit them. The ongoing story with school land sale continues in this vein, and the parents and residents who elect the school board every three years should be wary about the current board's arrogant attitude towards them.
Of the two schools included in the land-sale proposal, Porter was obviously a mistake. The land in question is by no means "surplus." It includes the best parts of Porter Elementary's playground and sports field, with equipment and grass. It is in daily use, both by the school and by the surrounding community.
When the protest of the parents and neighbours became too loud to be ignored, the board quietly dropped Porter Elementary from the sale proposal. It took the involvement of CBC and local newspapers, hundreds of letters to officials from parents, petitions and outspoken criticism of the proposal at public meetings, but we did it.
But even though Porter Elementary was removed from the land sale proposal, nobody from the school board admitted that the board made a mistake. There was no "we were wrong," no apology to anyone for wasted efforts, lost nights and weekends, for the unnecessary stress caused to both parents and children. When the parents present at the board meeting asked who was responsible for the original decision, there was no answer.
To add insult to injury, on the next day after dropping Porter from the initial proposal, the chair of the school board, Melissa Hyndes, said in a newspaper article that she didn't rule out the possibility of selling Porter Elementary land in the future.
We live in a democratic society, and people get to choose their officials. It is time Tri-Cities residents took note that some officials do not see their constituency as the real source of power they are reporting to. We deserve more respect from our elected officials.