Board declared “structurally unsound” for mismanaging facilities

Placard

Notice posted on school board door.

Citizens declared the Regina Public School Board “structurally unsound” on April 30, based on the following points:

1. Failure to act on repeated recommendations regarding the upkeep of Ecole Connaught Community School.

Repairs described as “essential” in building inspection reports dating back at least until 2010 were repeatedly ignored.

2.  Failure to appropriately maintain school buildings, as prescribed in the Education Act.

The Education Act states school boards have a duty to “maintain school accommodation, equipment and facilities considered necessary and adequate for the educational programs.”

3.  Failure to “insure and keep insured” a school building, as stated in the Act.

Maintaining insurance is a prescribed duty in the Act. The board neglected our school to the point where, we are told, the insurer no longer wanted to provide insurance. There does not appear to have been any effort made to work with the insurer or to undertake needed repairs to meet insurance requirements. There is no evidence the insurer was made aware that there was a specific list of recommended repairs from the engineer

4. Failure to carry out a 2012 recommendation to develop a relocation plan for Connaught students.

A Stage One Facility Report of May 2012 stated that a relocation plan for students should be created concurrent with submitting the report to the Ministry. Asked in 2013 where the plan was, the board responded via the media that there was only an “extremely slim chance that students at Connaught will have to be re-located before the new school is completed but that decision is a long way off.” Within less than a year, the school faced imminent closure with no relocation plan in place.

5.  Failure to supply accurate, timely and complete information to the Ministry of Education and the public.

Recommended studies needed to determine actual renovation costs were not undertaken, compromising the accuracy of cost comparisons. The school community was regularly kept in the dark about crucial information and upcoming decisions. Public statements regarding the Ministry position on a renovation were not backed up by the written record or in conversations with Ministry staff.

 6. Failure to allow public access to Ecole Connaught Community School for the purpose of examining the building’s condition.

Community members offered to arrange and pay for specialists in older masonry building conservation to inspect the building and develop recommendations. The board refused entry to the building for structural testing to be carried out.

 7.  Failure to respect the cultural rights of citizens.

Canada is signatory to an international declaration of the UN agency ICOMOS, affirming the right to “wise and and appropriate use of heritage” and “the right to participate in decisions affecting heritage.” Signed in Stockholm in 1998, the declaration affirms, “These rights assume the need to recognize, appreciate and maintain heritage, and to improve and respect a framework for action.”

8. Denial of the right of Wascana School-area children to attend a school and access French Immersion in their community.

French Immersion was moved out of Wascana in 2008, and the building has been left to deteriorate to a deplorable state, although children are still attending the school. Now $1.1 million is allocated to repair the school for accommodating bussed-in Connaught students in English and French – but the board has stated local children will not be allowed to attend their revamped neighbourhood school.

9. Repeated failure to duly and fairly consult with community members on the future of their school.

While meetings have been held, outcomes appear pre-determined. Comments at community meetings are not accurately recorded and quantified, and appear to hold no discernable role in decision-making. Consultations are managed and reported on by facilitators who hold high stakes in the outcomes, rather than objective third parties.

 

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