Greenwood and Midway councils are at odds over the proposed Midway Elementary School (MES) closure, according to letters released by the Boundary School District, SD 51.
The mayor and council of Midway Village publicly opposed the proposed closure in early February, while a February 15 letter signed by Greenwood Mayor Barry Noll puts the town council in the opposite corner.
It is up to the Boundary Board of Education to decide whether it will close the MES, in which case staff and pupils will join their peers in Years 4-7 at nearby Greenwood Elementary School from September.
Superintendent Anna Lautard told the school board in November that SD 51 had concerns about staffing and supervision at the two schools, which share staff and resources. Most MES students live in Greenwood, according to SD 51.
The school board and SD 51 are in the midst of a public consultation process, in which the school district said it would review letters from affected residents and staff that arrived by Feb. 17. The district released the letters ahead of the next round of public consultations. talks at Midway on Thursday, February 24.
The Village of Midway spoke out against the closure at the regular council meeting on February 7, when the council unanimously supported the council. Proposal of Fred Grouette to write to SD 51 a letter of opposition on behalf of the elected body. The Council was still considering how to write the letter when it was discussed in the chambers on Tuesday 22 February.
Mayor Martin Fromme and his wife Elaine meanwhile co-signed a letter to SD 51 opposing the proposed closure.
Writing as private residents, the Frommes insisted that the village school “represents Midway’s longstanding commitment to its children”, further stating that SD 51 could solve its staffing and security by hiring another teacher at the MES.
Admitting that it would cost the district, which shares staff and resources between the two schools, the Frommes pointed out that “money doesn’t seem to be an issue in the closure,” adding that SD 51 would lose about $230,000 in funding from the Ministry of Education if MES were to close.
In stark contrast, a letter signed by Greenwood Mayor Barry Noll expresses city council’s support for the proposed closure.
Asking SD 51 not to publish the letter, Noll wrote, “Greenwood City Council agrees with the safety and financial concerns addressed by the school board and supports the change of Greenwood Elementary to a school. K-7.
Noll was unavailable for comment before The Times published this story on Wednesday afternoon, February 23.
Speaking as Mayor Fromme, that council would likely voice its opposition at Thursday’s meeting, which begins at Boundary Central High School at 6 p.m., according to the SD 51 website.