The Regina Public School Board Isn’t Even Trying Any More

Take a look at the Regina Urban Ecology blog here and think: if one of the problems that kids are having is that they’re not getting the physical exercise that they should, and one of the problems for inner-city communities is that there’s a dearth of facilities for the public to meet — such as schools, then why is the Regina public school board hell-bent on closing perfectly good schools such as Haultain and Dieppe?

Author: Stephen LaRose

2006 winner of the Canadian Association of University Teachers's Award of Excellence in Journalism for a bunch of prairie dog stuff. Invited into the best homes in Regina. Once.

16 thoughts on “The Regina Public School Board Isn’t Even Trying Any More”

  1. Your headline would seem to imply that the RBE used to try; it might be interesting to know when that was. Also, what is your definition of “perfectly good”? And, just FYI, Haultain and Dieppe Schools aren’t in the inner city.

  2. On an unrelated note, have you guys seen the new additions to Arcola and Douglas Park schools?? It’s like DP is getting an NBA team and Arcola an MLS franchise. Good, though, good stuff.

  3. I approve! I’ve never been up on the school closure issues–I’m sure that will change. My experience has been limited to seeing McNiven turned into a care home, Elsie Dorsey and Birchwood bulldozed. I don’t know if those were prudent decisions…populations fluctuate. My elementary school still stands and I think, after dipping as low as 250 kids in the 90s, is bulging again. It was 430 when I was there in the 80s.

    I’m also old enough to have walked to and fro school, that was before our streets became breeding grounds for abduction, gang warfare, and pedophile lurking. (I jest, of course.) I never rode the school bus, I don’t know if it’s hell or if it’s fun, but if schools are closed and kids need to be bussed, there goes yet another opportunity for exercise (walking to school), which is a shame. Though like I said, I don’t know the demographics or economics behind school closures, so I[‘ll withhold my outrage, for now.

  4. P.S. I didn;t read the blog till after I made that last post re: “walkability”. Right on.

  5. Birchwood, Elsie Dorsey, and McNiven Schools were closed/repurposed before my time on the Board, but the same issues applied then as now, complicated by the fact that many of the neighbourhood schools dating from post-WW2 were built very quickly in an era when it was acceptable to have 40-60 kids in a classroom. These schools no longer meet accessibility codes, not to mention HVAC, wiring, computer installation, fire safety standards, etc. School Boards no longer have access to the property tax, and therefore have less discretionary spending power. The province is also stricter about capital spending, and isn’t fond of helping keep underpopulated schools open. The RBE has also long since taken a stand that it will not allow triple grading; it is not good for students or teachers. Sad to say, the old model of neighbourhood school has had its day; neither the numbers nor the money is there. And, before everyone gets all angry at the Wall govt, please be aware that the previous NDP govt amalgamated school divisions, as part of the drive to centralize and render more efficient the operations of schools. Andrew Thomson and other NDP ministers of education were great fans of the “Alberta Model” (removal of taxing powers from the Boards); they just didn’t get around to acting on their enthusiasm.

  6. The bottom line is the province needs to put education on their priority list, and spend accordingly, or we’ll be left behind as the world around us goes hi(gher)-tech.

  7. I agree, John, but health care has the lion’s share and likely will for the forseeable future.

  8. But it is because of health care costs that we should be supporting local schools and walkable neighbourhoods. And Haultain School is in the inner city.

  9. #1 yes they are, do you live in new truckville – Dieppe ?

    #6 Elsie Dorsey , another short sighted school board reaction. How many UofR / Saist students now live near the deomolished site? can’t grow children there, there aint no skool for them , guess we pay for more bussing.

    gee Barb, last time I google mapped Regitown. Dieppe Place is about @ the 1/2 way mark, North / South of Regina, a little on the left side of yer map,but not lost in any potential.

    So you figgure that none of the Transportation Hub workers, would want any of their children learning at Dieppe School? A lot less hassle for any parent, drop em off on the way to work, pick’em up on the way home. Daycare / school / afterscool programs. Dieppe school got a new $$$$ K roof last year, just to close it now?

    We could use some new urban gardener programs ( in school ) out here now too., seeing how the FN city doesn’t understand.

  10. To treat your question seriously, Stephen, two factors come to mind: (a) systematically and quite universally in Western industrial countries(at least) choices to close schools have tended to focus on inner-city (“urban”)schools, a form of class bias; (b)for the past 30 years, approximately, sufficient funding of formal education has been starved as part of a larger strategy to enrich the few, a strategy some call neoliberalism; (c)while parents in the affected local communities, such as Haultain and Dieppe mobilize only at the last minute (notice the lack of support for Athabasca), teachers have been, rightfully, expressing their concerns about over-crowded classroom.

  11. Barb, I really like your pointing out that Andrew Thompson et al had fundamentally the same education politics as the Wall folks. After all, it was they who introduced much of what now passes for provincial policy, e.g. outcome-based education and the Continuous Improvement Framework.

  12. No need for the deeply unwitty sarcasm, Ron; if Rosement isn’t considered inner city, then neither is the Dieppe area.

    Many of us were hoping that the Hub would make a difference. So far, it seems not to have.

    Rick: you may have come late to the discussion, but Athabasca had plenty of community and extra-community support for years; so have Dieppe and Haultain, neither of whose communities would stand for your saying that they mobilized “at the last minute”. That just is not the case. In contrast, Ken Jenkins School couldn’t get any parents to serve on the SCCfor years; even Real Renewal noted that there was little/no community feeling about keeping the school open.

  13. #12 a) not a parent
    b) last minute? BofE says stuff in spring ’11 and forces on parents to be ready to shutdown next year?
    #6 with that logic 80% of Regina should be razed.
    Being 1 of 40 at Massey 1970’s, sumptin, I didn’t feel, left out, and the those that couldn’t pass the minumum requirements, had to repeat the grade. Fair for all. Sorta like University/ collage prerequisites today.

    # 14 The Lewvan opened it’s exchange route today. The WTH opened ( without neighborhood consultation),about 11- 14 months ago.
    You’ve already given up chick, this hasn’t even been born yet. Who advertises for the available school openings? WTH is only around 1/4 capacity, and a new grain mill opening ta boot out there.

    Strict capital spending means that you don’t spend money on; fuel & drivers and building maintenance & future health care on kids who Never walked to school for 12 years, ( or ever including Uni etc).

    So how long has the HVAC fire saftey,( f it’s a ground floor building, w/3 exits ) been an issue? ok for kids now, and the last few years, but it’s all shite now?
    do tell.
    Computer issues? lol! A few cables can be installed pretty easily, but some people can make it more complicated than necessary. Free wireless ?

    Rosemont is next? Kiss Martin goodbye too.

    Maybe RBE can explain to the rest of us what “inner city ” actually means.
    Set a confirmed boundary ,so that none of us has to 2nd guess, next November.

    There isn’t any school at all in Harbour Landing, what brainiac in charge, thought that was using , tax dollars wisely? no debate with the demovelopers there RBE?


  14. Wow, Ron, where to start. I guess with the end, and move backward:
    -as per usual city practice, there is land set aside in Harbour Landing for both a public and a separate school. A.E. Perry School, which had lots of room, is accommodating HL students right now.
    -if you want to know what schools are under review in years to come, go to the RBE website and read the 10-year plan. That way, you’ll learn something, and you’ll have more credibility when you complain or ask questions that have been answered elsewhere.
    -as you well know, or should, building codes and health and safety regulations change constantly, and yes, kids still go to school in buildings that have no way for an elevator or stair-chair lift to be installed, so there are accessibility issues. As for computer installation, your remark is appropriate for a private dwelling but not for a school.
    -people working west of Regina are choosing to locate in Grand Coulee rather than the city.
    -your “Strict capital spending” paragraph is incoherent.
    – “it’s” is hort for “it is”, while “its” is possessive. And it’s “interchange”.

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