Bateman high school parents file for review of the process used to close their school.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 11th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lester B. Pearson parents filed a request for an Administrative Review of the decision to close their school made by the Board o Education on June 7th. The gazette publish their request.

Bateman high school parents have also requested an Administrative Review which they have, so far, decided to not release to the public. The Gazette has asked the Save Bateman Committee to re-think that decision.

Bateman parents

When Bateman parents learned that there school had been recommended for closure they became very active but were not able to develop the momentum to persuade the trustees that they had a strong case for being left open.

We believe that the document is important and should be part of the public record.

The Bateman committee did release the following statement:

“The Save Bateman Committee has filed an administrative review with the Ministry of Education as part of their continuing fight to keep the Burlington high school open.

“The committee compiled a 60-page report which exposes the numerous ways in which the Halton District School Board failed to follow its own review process. It also highlights the severely problematic Program and Accommodation Review (PAR) process which lead to the Board’s Trustees’ flawed decision to close Bateman.

“Bateman parents are asking Education Minister Mitzie Hunter to overturn the decision to close their school and to make her June 28th call for a province-wide moratorium on school closures retroactive.

“With the province finally admitting that their process was flawed, Bateman parents say they must overturn any decisions that were made under that process.

“Trustees voted only 22 days before the Minister’s announcement in which she admitted the process was flawed. It’s just not acceptable that decisions made under that flawed process can stand,” said Bateman parent Lisa Bull.

“The Bateman committee say they have uncovered a litany of problems with the process, including that it did not consider the unique needs of Bateman’s diverse population, especially the special need students. They say there were also breaches to the trustees’ code of conduct in regards to the texting incident that occurred between trustee Leah Reynolds and city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward on June 7th.

“The board also failed to fully explore a collaboration with the Halton Catholic School Board and failed to encourage community partnerships, which are both requirements by the ministry. Despite the fact ward five trustee Amy Collard presented several examples of potential partnerships, including Halton Multicultural Council, Centre of Excellence for Skills and Development and Halton Industry Education Council, they were not pursued.

“The biggest concern for Bateman parents has been that the needs of special education students were not considered in the review. The voices of these students and their families were not listened to around issues such as the risks associates with transitioning medically fragile and developmentally delayed students.

“We want the Ministry to know that we are not simply self-entitled parents who want to keep our kid’s school open,” said Bateman parent Denise Davy. “This decision does not make financial or educational sense because the process to close our school was defective.”

The HDSB has 30 days to respond to the review request and if the it has enough merit to justify the hiring of an independent facilitator to conduct a comprehensive review of the board’s process.

Bateman - crowd scene with Bull

Bateman parents demoonstrate.

Throughout the Program Accommodation Review Bateman has been behind the curve. The parents paid no attention to the issue; there were just three members of the public at the meeting the Board of Education held at Bateman high school.

The sense many had was that Bateman had not been recommended for closure so there was no issue for them.

PAR HDSB Parents at Bateman

Bateman parents at the public meeting held to explain the PAR process – four parents were in the room.

Those who had taken the time to inform themselves could see that Bateman was very much at risk. Bateman parents got involved when the Director of Education changed his position and recommended that Bateman be closed rather than Central high school which was part of the original recommendation.

The Bateman parents were stunned and needed a bit of time to get their act together and tell their story. The unfortunate part of all this is that Bateman had a great story to tell – few, other than the parents with children in some of the programs, particularly the CPP. Were aware of what was taking place.

When Bateman parents did their delegations the public got to see just how effective and relevant those programs were. By that time however Central had cemented the gain they got when the Director changed his position and there wasn’t enough time for Bateman to get their story out.

That the trustees did not manage to grasp the significance of what gets done at Bateman is a part of the larger tragedy.

Reviews to change a decision made by elected officials are hard to overturn. It is easier to elect different trustees.

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2 comments to Bateman high school parents file for review of the process used to close their school.

  • Sharon

    Electing new Trustees will be done November 2018.

  • Sharon

    Yes Bateman does have a wonderful story to tell. We love telling it! Central did not care what happened at Bateman, they cared about 1.9 km.. And the Trustees didn’t remember what they saw when they toured Bateman and we’re completely deaf at delegations. Oh wait that was just part of the process. Yes Director Miller we will do whatever you say. So many puppets.