WEYBURN - Although a couple of educational facilities do not reach the suggested minimum enrolment requirements for viable school designation, the South East Cornerstone Public School Division board has decided, once again, not to put them under scrutiny or direct assessment this year.
A motion forwarded by subdivision 4 trustee Tami Scott noted that although some data surrounding schools in Pangman and Manor might have prompted a viable school review by the board, it was deemed to not be necessary.
One board member, Estevan’s Kevin Keating, disagreed with the motion, asking for a recorded vote. The motion, however, passed with Keating casting the only dissenting vote.
In stating his opposition to the motion, he pointed out the Pangman facility was lacking in some maintenance areas and since the reviews included not only school population but also other needs such as community and the actual facility, he could not support the motion to not review the Pangman situation.
The subdivision that includes Pangman has recently undergone a change at the board table with Jennifer Wilkinson having recently resigned the role for the western region due to work and family pressures.
A by-election has been planned for subdivision 6 and also in subdivision 1, which had been represented by Carol Flynn, who died recently. Nominations deadline day is Jan. 11, 2023, with the elections to take place on Feb. 15 to fill the vacancies for the rest of this term.
Estevan’s other representative Eric McCrimmon countered Keating’s objections by noting that since this particular region has not had an active representative in the board room for awhile, it would not be fair to the community to place it under scrutiny at this stage.
Meghan Schick, the recently-elected board member for one of the two Weyburn seats at the Cornerstone table, added that Pangman uses the school for a variety of community events.
“The community wants and needs the school,” she said.
Schick had been formally introduced to the board with a declaration of office earlier in the meeting.
The school review process includes many factors beyond enrolment, such as costs per student, maintenance needs, age of facility, subjects offered and geographical/transportation concerns.
Pangman School, a kindergarten to Grade 12 centre, currently has an enrolment of 66 students. Manor School, another K-12 facility, has an enrolment of 51.
During an earlier report, director of education Keith Keating noted the official enrolment number for all 37 facilities in the Cornerstone division amounted to 8,294 as of Sept. 30, the date used by the provincial government to assist them in assessing annual foundation grants.
Keating said the numbers include pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, and that the total indicated overall stability when it came to student registration in public schools in southeast Saskatchewan.