A former principal and concerned community members who were shocked and saddened by the Sask. Party government decision to terminate Cornwall Alternative School are speaking out. Ten people joined NDP MLAs at the Legislature today to call for the decision to break a three-year funding agreement and close the school to be reversed.
“The need for specialized supports for students in this province is paramount, and with this surprise closure, it shows a government that is moving backwards,” said NDP Education Critic Carla Beck. “This is a cut that completely flies in the face of the government’s so-called balanced budget. How can a budget be balanced when at-risk students are being displaced from their school?”
Cornwall Alternative is a “school of last resort” in Regina that serves 42 at-risk students in grades 7 to 10, many of whom say they otherwise wouldn’t be in school at all.
In 2017-18, Cornwall students had an 81 percent attendance rate. Students reported an increase in self-concept, self value, self confidence and motivation. And of the kids who attended the school last year, 95 percent said they wouldn’t not be attending school at all if it were not for Cornwall.
Eunice Cameron was the Principal of Cornwall Alternative School for 17 years. She is now a board member of the school and is one of the many voices calling out the Sask. Party government for their “devastating” decision to shut down the school.
“Cornwall Alternative School is a success story, period,” said Cameron. “For the government to cut it now, on the second year of a three-year funding agreement, with no prior warning — it simply makes no sense.”
“This is an incredibly short-sighted decision and it breaks the trust of everyone who cares about education in this province,” Beck added. “There’s a simple solution to this mess: the government should make clear that they will honour the school’s three-year funding agreement and continue to fund it going forward.”
At 4:30 this afternoon, for the second time in two days, concerned community members will rally in defence of the school, this time in front of the Legislature.