TVDSB defers decision on rescinding closings of Springfield, New Sarum public schools

Thames Valley District School Board trustees, at a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 21, voted to defer consideration of a proposed rescinding of motions adopted by TVDSB in 2017 to close New Sarum and Springfield public schools.

The meeting was attended by area elected officials, including Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek, along with concerned parents from both those schools, as well as at least some from South Dorchester Public School.

An attempt by Middlesex Trustee Sean Hunt to overturn a decision of the “Chair’s Committee” to deny delegations from Springfield and New Sarum school parents to speak at the meeting, as well as MPP (and Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks) Yurek, failed, despite a majority voting to put the delegations back on the agenda.

Adding “new” material to the board’s agenda would have required suspending its procedure bylaw, and would have needed the support of two-thirds of the 13 trustees.

But despite eight voting in favour of allowing the public to speak, the opposition of five trustees quashed the idea.

That opposition was led by Trustee Jake Skinner of London, who argued that parents from South Dorchester and Westminster Central public schools, who wanted the closures to go ahead to ensure a new elementary school was built in Belmont, hadn’t been given fair notice so they could speak to the board on the subject as well.

Later, he also moved deferring the motion to reconsider so that a capital planning report from staff could be considered, a “public input” meeting held so all groups could speak.

That’s to happen in November, and the board is expected to make its final decision on the motion to rescind the closures, submitted by Elgin-St. Thomas trustees Meagan Ruddock and Bruce Smith, at a TVDSB meeting on Tuesday, November 26.

Full details will be in the Oct. 30 edition of The Aylmer Express.