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Last night, the Bluewater School Board met in the comfort of their building in Chesley to start a fresh wave of school closures. It was a meeting that the Save OSCVI group had hoped would be held in Owen Sound:
where the public have many questions about the Board's plans in the wake of the surprise closure last spring of five of the city's schools.
With commencement ceremonies now being planned for recent graduates of both OSCVI and West Hill, the Bluewater District School Board Chair Ron Motz has refused to face the public to provide an update on theBoard's plans for secondary schools in Owen Sound.
We've offered to help organize, and we've suggested the option of simply moving a monthly meeting to Owen Sound, to minimize any inconvenience to trustees. But each offer and request has been met with a flat refusal.
The initial request was for the Board to hold an open meeting so that the people of Owen Sound could hear about school changes and progress, and ask questions about the sudden closure of five schools, announced a few months ago. Told that the Board was "too busy" for such a meeting, the group suggested that the September board meeting could be moved to an Owen Sound  location: a practice which was common in the past.  Motz refused the request immediately, apparently without consulting the board, something we find grossly undemocratic and disrespectful of the electorate. Motz' excuse – that meetings are now live-streamed - is nonsense as there are many options for livestreaming meetings from Owen Sound locations.
"SaveOSCVI" group members are still fielding questions from people who are uncertain how the Board is proceeding.  There is the "very large question" of whether and when the city should expect a new high school building – since contradictory messages have emerged from the Board in the past few months.
Mr. Motz seems to feel that communication has been adequate. We have about 4,000 signatures on a petition that would suggest they still have some questions that need answering. School has started
now; this isn't about uprooting kids yet again. But this community deserves some answers from the Board elected to represent them. How hard is it to simply hold a meeting to explain what's happening?
As for Board Chair Motz, he should be removed from his position as Chair. He has over-stepped his authority as Chair in his lack of consultation with his own Board. Furthermore, we need board leadership
that understands that they owe the public accountability and dialogue. Mr. Motz has eroded the public trust.
The OSCVI – with a 160-year history, an active alumni group and an almost-new, purpose-built campus – was suddenly shuttered last spring and its students moved to the aging West Hill school. Former MPP Bill Murdoch has also called for the resignation of Chair Motz and the Bluewater Board over their handling of the closure.

Judy Keeling, Spokesperson







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