Pearson parents meeting with the Mayor - there might be some sparks.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 13th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Later today a small delegation from Pearson high school will be meeting with the Mayor during one of the Open Door sessions he holds for citizens who want to meet with him

Girl with T-shirt LBPH

Showing the school colours.

Pretty clear what the Pearson parents want to talk about – they want to know just where the Mayor was when the decision on closing schools was made. Those Pearson parents don’t buy the argument that it was just a school board trustee decision.

The Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process that took place made provision for representation from the city – the Mayor chose to pass that task along to his city manager James Ridge and had the temerity to say at a city council meeting that he, the Mayor, couldn’t think of anyone more qualified to represent the city.

Podrebarac and Ridge

Steve Podrebarac on the left and Burlington city manager James Ridge at a school board PAR meeting.

At the time Ridge had been city manager for about 18 months, was not a native of the city and probably could not have named the seven high schools in the city.

Ridge attended most of the PAR meetings, spoke twice. On one of those occasions he said the school board should not sell any land. The school board isn’t permitted to just sit on land it owns – they have to use it or lose it. When they do sell the land, which a decision the Board makes when they declare the land surplus.

Steve Armstrong + Cheryl deLught - Pearson

Cheryl DeLught and Steve Armstrong – part of the Pearson delegation.

When the Board makes that decision there is a hierarchy of organizations that have the right to purchase the land – the city is on that list. The city could be negotiating with the school board to move some of its staff into Pearson to keep the building until the city has a better view of just what the student population is going to be.

All the Grow BOLD discussion taking place are making mention of a population that is going to climb from the current 186,000 to something in the 215,000 range. Will there not be some students in amongst those new residents?

Hopefully the Pearson people meeting with the Mayor today will be bold and suggest that the city get onside.

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