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Councillor Takes Members of School Board to Task
(Wednesday, June 26/2002)-- A Halifax Regional Councillor has come out swinging today against two members of the Halifax Regional School Board and comments attributed to them in a newspaper report this morning.
District 6 Councillor Brian Warshick (Westphal-Waverley Road) said the Regional School Board "should get its act together, and its own house in order" before criticizing the Halifax Regional Council.
The controversy erupted over accusations by School Board members Wade Marshall and Douglas Sparks that Halifax Regional Council was dragging its feet on the approval of Supplementary Education Funding for the next academic year. As a result, the Board may have to lay-off up to 100 employees of the former Halifax County schools.
In response to Mr. Marshall calling the situation " ridiculous," Councillor Warshick responds:
"What is ridiculous is when the Board does an inspection of a school and it passes in flying colours; yet, in the case of Mary Lawson Elementary, the Board decides to close it. What is ridiculous is that this school already had a 77% capacity and another school, Michael Wallace, just down the road, sat at 134% of capacity -- with four portable classrooms; yet, when the parents suggested moving the Grade 6 classes in order to relieve the overcrowding at one and help the efficiency at the other, the Board turned it down. This is the fastest growing school area in Dartmouth."
Mr. Marshall was also attributed as saying "this is affecting a lot of homes and a lot of students."
Councillor Warshick responds: "I want to know where were his comments to this effect last year ?"
The same newspaper report attributed Mr. Sparks as accusing Regional Council as "power tripping" and criticizing it for "its inability to pass Supplementary Funding."
Councillor Warshick responds: "He (Mr. Sparks) should get his facts straight before he shoots off. I sit on the Council, but not on the Mayor's Supplementary Funding Task Force and I can tell you that as a Councillor, I haven't even seen the final draft yet, so how can I vote on something I haven't seen?"
"Furthermore, as for Councillors not taking this issue seriously, I have already met and spoken with a number of parents from various Student Advisory Councils in my District schools, as well as a number of concerned parents. What they are concerned about is where the School board is spending the money!" he said.
Halifax Regional Municipality provides approximately $63 million in core funding to the Regional School Board, as well as another $20 million in Supplementary Education Funding.
The School Board has requested 3.5 per cent across-the-board increase in Supplementary Education Funding, but Councillor Warshick questions why the Board is looking for more funding when the school population is declining.
" A lot of people are asking where the Board is spending the money? The student population is declining, the Board is closing schools, and yet it wants more money from us. I have a lot of questions that I want answered, " he said.
Councillor Brian Warshick