No schools will close, says P.E.I. premier

No schools will close, says P.E.I. premier

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan held a news conference with Education Minister Doug Currie Tuesday morning to announce his government would not support a Public Schools Branch recommendation to close two schools.

"Islanders have spoken loudly and clearly and government will be here to support them," said MacLauchlan.

"We want to keep Islanders engaged."

On Monday night the P.E.I. Public Schools Branch completed a school utilization review process. Its board of directors, announced at a public meeting it was recommending the closure of two schools — St Jean's in Charlottetown and Georgetown Elementary in Kings County.

The review process started in September, and included online submissions, small meetings with interested parties, and public meetings which often became heated.

MacLauchlan acknowledged it was a difficult process, but added it was worthwhile, and a good example of how democracy should work.

"What has come out of that process is a vision, commitment and energy that is now being harnessed," he said.

"That's a major achievement."

School expansion recommendations being reviewed

The board will proceed with major zoning changes in the Charlottetown-Stratford area in order to deal with overcrowding at Stonepark Intermediate in the coming school year.

Currie said government is still considering recommendations to expand school infrastructure in Stratford and West Royalty to deal with growing populations there. He said government can't tell people where to live, but does have a duty to provide infrastructure.

He echoed MacLauchlan's feelings about the value of the process.

"I believe the review created a deeper and broader engagement in learning," he said.

Both Currie and MacLauchlan said they want to take advantage of the current engagement of Islanders in order to improve communities.

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