School’s future on the line?

Darrell Cole
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Public meeting in Wentworth tonight

TRURO – Supporters of the Wentworth Elementary School will have one more chance to present their case when the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board holds a public meeting at the school tonight.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and is the next step in the closure process that could see the elementary school close as soon as September.

“The purpose of the meeting is to gather feedback from the public on the board’s impact assessment report and the study committee response for Wentworth Elementary,” board spokeswoman Debbie Buott-Matheson said.

Last month, the board decided to move five schools forward to the next stage of the process and public meetings have been held in four areas.

Once all the public meetings have been held, the board has until March 31 to make a final decision on the future of the schools.

“They then have until April 15 to publish that decision,” Buott-Matheson said.

Buott-Matheson said copies of the report are available at the school and on the board’s website.

If the school is closed, students would be sent to schools in Oxford and Pugwash.

Carol Hyslop, a former school board member and Wentworth resident, said people are very nervous about what’s going to happen.

“There’s a lot of concern in the community. This is probably the closest we’ve come to losing our school. There are a lot of scared people in the community right now,” Hyslop said Monday.

Hyslop is hoping for a large turnout at tonight’s meeting and she’s hoping people will have something to say that will convince the board to abandon its plans to recommend the school for closure.

“This is not the first time we’ve had to do this, but there’s a different feeling right now,” Hyslop said. “The other times it was a possibility, but this time there’s a real concern it could happen.”

After the board decided to move ahead to the next step in the closure process there was a lot of anger in the community. Cecil MacLeod, who chaired the school review committee, felt the board already had its mind made up prior to the February meeting. He said the board hasn’t done its homework and is using a flawed process.

MacLeod was unavailable for further comment on Monday.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Wentworth Elementary School, Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Wentworth, Chignecto, Oxford Pugwash

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