I am writing in response to the recent announcement made by Saskatchewan Rivers School Division regarding their expansion plans for the Community School program in the Division’s schools.
While I can appreciate that there are high needs for students in schools not designated as Community Schools, I am deeply concerned about how the Division seems to have chosen to deal with this. Primarily, I am concerned that this decision, to the best of my knowledge, has been made without consultation with the people who will be most profoundly affected, and seemingly, without regard for the realities of the day to day lives of these people. Once again, people who do not need the services being affected are making decisions for people who use the services, without even asking for their input. And when plans are made for the people and things do not improve for them we all stand around, (or sit around in meetings) wondering what is wrong with them. Why can’t they just do what we tell them is in their best interest? Sound like a familiar sentiment?
As a West Flat citizen, I am concerned not only with the lack of consultation. I am also concerned about what the very real impact this decision is likely to have on my neighbourhood. Community Schools, in their current state, have been instrumental in bringing opportunities for family and community wellness to this part of the city. We have so very few services and such high need. There are virtually no health services in this part of the city; no doctors, no dentists, no nurse practitioners, very little in terms of recreational facilities, and no place to get healthy, reasonably priced food. And now we are being told that the people who could help, and have helped us, access these resources in other parts of town and create programs for recreation, culture and wellness right in the schools will be working fewer hours and/or be demoted. We know that these people are already over-worked and under-paid, and that only those whose hearts are truly in this work would even do the work. I wonder how aware their employer is of these facts. I wonder if any research has been done in the recent past to see how the schools have been performing.
I understand that the school board needs to make difficult financial decisions because of limited resources and high needs. I do not understand why this decision would be made without input. There are many creative people connected to Community Schools, who are used to figuring out how to do things without a lot of money. If we were asked we could likely come up with some pretty good and pretty viable solutions.
I sincerely hope the Board decides to reconsider this decision and gives the citizens a chance to have some say. To do otherwise actually flies in the face of the philosophy of community education, which we are being told is to be expanded in the Division.