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Schools to close during 2010 Olympics

Board believes it has reached a compromise; some parents feel they are not being heard



Despite parents pushing for schools to stay open during the 2010 Olympic Games the Howe Sound School District wants to close the Whistler high school for three weeks and two days and the elementary schools for one week.

“Not only does this fly in the face of what we have said, they have added another two days of closure,” said high-school parent Linda McGaw.

Asked if she felt the board was listening to parents she said: “absolutely not.”

Whistler Secondary Parents Advisory Council recently passed a motion stating that they would only support a two-week closure for the Olympics, which would bring them in line with other high schools in the district.

“This will be very hard for my son and others in a similar situation to make up that kind of time in their graduation year, that is my huge concern,” said McGaw

“I feel that the school board, for whatever reason, is willing to play around with the future of these children and I don’t think that is part of their mandate as a school board.”

The latest 2010 school calendar came out of a school board meeting on Nov.14. It proposes:

• Spring break for all schools in the district be moved from March 8-12, 2010 to Feb. 22-26, 2010.

• Whistler Secondary will also be closed for an additional two weeks prior to the moved spring break and two days following the moved spring break resulting in a total closure from Feb. 8 to March 2, 2010.

• Pemberton, Don Ross and Howe Sound Secondary schools will be closed for an additional week prior to the moved spring break, for a total closure from Feb. 15 to 26, which corresponds with the Olympic period.

McGaw is also very upset that Whistler council waded into the discussion, unanimously supporting a motion to close the high school for three weeks and keep the elementary schools open.

“I thought that it was completely unacceptable for our council to get involved in that way,” she said.

“That is not their job to get involved in education like that. So my question now is, if the council was prepared to come out in public and say that, there has got to be something pushing pretty hard behind the scenes here for the secondary school.”

Although no contract is in place yet the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games has stated that it would like the high school facilities for accommodation and other uses during the Olympics.

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