June 17, 2005

Minister repeats message that government favours a K-12 system in Bishop�s Falls

Tom Hedderson, Minister of Education, is standing by his belief that a K-12 system in Bishop�s Falls is viable and the right thing to do.

"Let me be perfectly clear: we unequivocally support a K-12 system in Bishop�s Falls," said Minister Hedderson. "Based on the feedback we�ve been hearing, and our look at the enrollment numbers, we believe that kindergarten to grade 12 in the area just makes sense."

"Our role as a government is to be responsive and to take action. I have the utmost respect for the school board and appreciate that they have a strategic plan. It is my responsibility to ensure that board members know that it is our position that there must be a K-12 system in the area.

"It will take a number of years to move from a three-school system to a one-school system. Parents, children, and residents deserve to know that our support for this school will not disappear after votes are cast in the by-election on June 23. We are 100 per cent in support of K-12, we will stand by that position, and I intend to put these views in writing."

"We respect the rights of boards to make decisions," added the minister. "This must be balanced with the fact that, at the end of the day, this government was elected to be accountable to the people of the province and to represent their best interests. If a decision is made that does not make sense based on sound information, then we have an obligation to address the issue in a manner which best serves the interests of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians."

Media contact: Alex Marland, Communications (709) 729-3733, 690-6047

2005 06 17                               4:35 p.m.

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