VERDUN — It was almost standing room only inside the gymnasium of Riverview Elementary School in Verdun as more than one-hundred parents showed their support to keep the 88-year-old institution open.
“We’re here to save this school,” one parent declared on the microphone during an open session before members of the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) including chairperson Suanne Stein Day.
“Sit with us and let’s find solutions for these families and future generations,” Sterling Downey told board members.
Downey, born and raised in Verdun, attended Riverview Elementary as a kid and is now a city councillor fighting to keep it open.
LBPSB Commissioners voted 7-6 last December to close the school of 224 students and transfer them to the much larger Verdun Elementary School which is well below student capacity and can absorb the additional students.
“Verdun is a much larger than average size school,” Day told Global News.
Parents are upset that closing Riverview is a blow, not just for students, but for the anglophone community at large.
Verdun Elementary will be the sole remaining English primary school in a borough of 66,000 people, 21 per cent of them being anglophone.
“It’s very disappointing,” Kathleen Blagrave told Global News. The mother of two has one son who has graduated from Riverview and another who is in Gr. 4.
“My older son went through this school, he loves this school,” she said.
Unless a new school board vote is held at its next meeting on January 25th, then the school will close at the end of the 2016 academic year.
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