In a letter to parents dated 20 September, Principal Bernie Finnerty advised that enrolment at W.E. Gowling School has dropped well below expectations, reducing the number of teachers on staff, and thus forcing him to reorganize classes. Principal Finnerty advises that other “inner city schools” are experiencing similar declines.
There are several theories as to why the enrolment is down: perhaps due to the conversion of rent-to-income housing, or perhaps transfer of area children to other schools. In any case, the reorganization is tough for students, parents and staff, who must now adjust to changing circumstances just when they are getting going on the new school year. Parents had to wait a little longer to meet the staff at the school, as the Meet-the-Teacher night was postponed in order to make the changes.
Fundraising is a big theme for this year's School Council, advise Janet Donovan, Chair, and Annette Parent, Head of Fundraising. The launch of the annual M&M Drive was on 22 September, and planning is underway for the Christmas Craft Sale on 26 and 27 November. A Millennium Carnival is planned for June 10th.
One key requirement is for the two play structures in the yard. The Junior structure has been condemned and at least $25,000 will be needed to but a new one. The Kindergarten/Primary structure is in need of repairs, estimated at a minimum of $2,500.
Other major issues facing Gowling are the increasing need for repairs to the building. The window replacement program seems to have stalled since the formation of the new public school board (most rooms still have their original windows, and many lack screens, resulting in either hot classrooms or visits from bugs and bees). Repairs to brick work are also necessary.