School system has failed Ecole Mill Bay

I am writing once again to express my absolute frustration and complete disappointment with the process of replacing the playground at Ecole Mill Bay.

It has now been 416 days since the children at our school have had a playground.  The only reason we have been so long without a playground is because of School District 79’s inability to install a playground in a prompt and professional manner.

On June 4, the Ecole Mill Parent Advisory Council hosted its largest annual fundraiser, Ecostravaganza, where we raised approximately $14,000 to put toward the support of our children’s school.

As a parent who has been actively involved with fundraising I am very hesitant to spend this money on any long-term tangible goods for the school.  Not because I do not want to leave a lasting legacy for future students but because I have absolutely no faith in our school district’s ability to follow through.

If, as parents, we are asked to participate in the education system by providing financial support to our school then I believe the school district and the Ministry of Education need to be accountable to us especially when we have purchased substantial capital assets for our school.

Personally, I have completely lost faith in our school district and our board of trustees. No one seems to be accountable for the inability of school district employees to complete their work in a timely manner and no one seems willing to even have a conversation about this system, which is clearly not meeting the needs of our school.

Not only should we receive an explanation from the board of trustees and school district administration, but I would like a union representative to explain why their workers are incapable of installing a playground in five weeks.

This is the same group of employees that insisted they were the only ones capable of installing a playground properly.

To avoid this situation in the future the playground installation policy must be reexamined.

In fact I would like to see the policies around the installation of all assets donated by PACs be re-examined.

If parents are going to be partners in our children’s education then we need our school district to be respectful and supportive of that relationship.

I would ask the minister of education, the board of trustees, the school district administration, and a union representative attend our next PAC meeting (Wednesday, June 15, 7 p.m. at Ecole Mill Bay) to begin a dialogue with our school about how we can resolve the current situation with our playground, and about how we can avoid similar situations in the future.

Mari Ann Nissinen Rockson is a parent at Ecole Mill Bay Elementary.

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