School District 27 trustees agreed Tuesday evening to carry out their proposal to move the French Immersion program from Marie Sharpe elementary to Glendale elementary.
The move makes room in the annex at Marie Sharpe to accommodate the GROW/Skyline programs and saves the district more than $85,000 a year on the lease space the programs now occupy on Second Avenue.
The decision was unanimous among directors in attendance. Trustee Bruce Mack was absent.
During the discussion period following the meeting the trustees came under fire by some of the Marie Sharpe parents in the audience who said they were not happy with the consultation process and didn’t feel their concerns were heard or acknowledged.
Some parents said it felt as though the decision had been made ahead of the consultation because the board knew well in advance that the lease on the GROW/Skyline centre was expiring.
In their response, the trustees noted that consultation processes are difficult no matter what form they take.
Whether a proposal is presented with rationale before a decision is made, such as the French Immersion move, or whether the consultation is open ended, such as the Our Kids Our Future forums held last year, misunderstandings can develop and ideas can come up that polarize people.
Trustee Patricia Baker assured parents that all of their concerns expressed in the consultation process were discussed in-depth by the board before the trustees came to their final decision.
The board was also asked what happened to the concept of a middle school that was discussed at the Our Kids Our Future forums last year.
Chair Wayne Rodier said the trustees talk about a lot of possibilities but haven’t decided one way or another on the idea.
He agreed the consultation process can be as frustrating for trustees as it is for parents.
One parent suggested the trustees give their reasons for the decision in a newsletter. Trustee Will Van Osch said the trustees were not legally bound to give the reasons for their decisions but also reassured parents that all of the letters received and points made in the consultation meetings were well considered before the final decision was made.