While a recent decision to move Grade 7/8 students to Parry Sound High School is shocking - with no community consultation, no spot on the agenda, and few answers and explanations - the fact is this decision is only the latest example of Near North board chair Kathy Hewitt’s disregard for due process and community inclusion, particularly when it comes to rural schools outside of North Bay.
From a change in the hiring process of top administrators (including the hiring of her son) to the criticizing of community fundraising for a new high school in Almaguin, to the lack of action and transparency in the three-year search for a new school site in Parry Sound, and the disrespect for small-town-school defender Al Bottomley and First Nation trustee Linda Williams (who was suspended from the board she was elected to at one point at the direction of Hewitt) - things are not well at the Near North board table.
Under Hewitt’s leadership, four top administrators have left the North Bay office. Several tenured principals have opted for retirement.
Now, the callous disregard for opinions and ideas of others has hit us here at home in Parry Sound.
Reason has not prevailed when it comes to Hewitt and the group of decision-makers that surround her. It’s time to load busses for a trip to North Bay. It’s time to call and email provincial officials. It’s time to insist other board members come to their senses and realize the current approach to making decisions, setting agendas and doing business is not the right one.
Because at risk is the education and wellbeing of our children. If that’s not worth a fight, what is?