Cindy Littlefair, parent, activist, friend, and editor of Shambala Sun wrote this blushworthy blog for the Heralds website…. *cringe* 🙂
The Near North by :: Cindy Littlefair
Birth of a District
Posted by: Cindy Littlefair 01/31/2007 07:59AM
Anyone consuming local media in the last few months would have come across stories to do with the proposed closure of three peninsula elementary schools. The Halifax Regional School Board had announced in the fall that construction of a single school to replace them was imminent. Saint Mary’s, Inglis Street and Le Marchant would have to go. Reaction was immediate and fierce. The decision had been unilateral. The Board was big-footing the individual and collective concerns of the schools involved and trying to muzzle detractors. The response was a finely tuned and orchestrated counter attack led entirely on the fly by a single group of parents representing all three schools. The effectiveness of their efforts owed almost entirely to the concerted efforts of one Le Marchant parent.
Waye Mason focused the fight in a way I’d never experienced in my 15 years in the school system. There’d been similar worthwhile opportunities in the past but the nature of grassroots protest is such that few are capable of both taking up the cause and leading the charge. Forming the opposition to a body like the school board requires tremendous amounts of sustained energy and focus and for the average parent civic-mindedness on top of their day job simply isn’t in the cards. Waye Mason has been the exception. Not only did he rise to the challenge but he led us to success. Now he’s spearheading another cause and those who are like-minded can join him in what he sees as a way of preventing and providing an alternative to the type of confrontation that gave rise to the recent fight.
The Citadel District School Association is a new body intended to bear the weight of large, lumpy issues that affect area schools and communities and require input and feedback from and on the whole. It will do so by initiating discussion and change as well as responding to it. The CDSA will have connectivity to all schools via the latter’s PTAs and SACs and move to represent them with a single voice. Since many of the issues that affect each of us also affect the group it is a way of pooling our resources and streamlining their handling; attempting the best usage of scant time and energy.
Waye’s qualifications now speak for themselves. He doesn’t want this to be about him but the fact remains that a three-month pitched engagement resulted in what stands to become a policy of consultation on school closures applied peninsula-wide and he was largely responsible for seeing that through. For the first time ever schools will be invited to participate in the decision-making surrounding their own fate. It was a significant step for those who feel strongly about kids, school and community and the Citadel District School Association is the means to go on expressing that. The meeting of all district school reps will take place Thursday, February 8, 7:00pm, in the Atlantic Room, Civic Centre, Halifax Forum Complex. Enter through Halifax Forum doors (Windsor and Almon) walk right around the concorse of the main rink to the end, follow the signs.