Effective June 30, 2020 New Humble Centre School will be permanently closing. This decision was made by the Board of Trustees of Black Gold School Division at its Regular Board Meeting on April 22, 2020. The Board voted six to one in favour of closing Alberta’s oldest school site.
New Humble Centre School recently celebrated its 120 year anniversary.
The Board states multiple reasons for the decision including enrolment challenges, maintenance costs, the building reaching the end of its lifespan and the close proximity of another elementary school.
The decision to permanently close the school was disappointing to many community members who fought to keep it open.
Megan Olynyk’s children are students at New Humble Centre School and she was one of the parents who pushed to delay or stop the closure of the school.
“It’s hard to come to grips with them making this decision right now,” Olynyk says. The closure comes as a big change for their New Humble Centre’s students in the midst of a lot of current change already, such as becoming temporarily home-schooled and isolated from their peers during the pandemic.
Olynyk feels that the Board didn’t take into consideration the options parents put forth for cost cutting options that would make up for the cuts Black Gold needed in order to keep New Humble Centre School open.
The Board of Trustees, however, felt that the responsible course of action was to close the school given the costs to operate as well as the proximity of the school to Calmar Elementary School.
Despite the uncertainty of her children’s educational path in the near future, Olynyk hopes the schools closure urges communities to fight for transparency between school boards and parents. She felt that the information by her and other parents was disregarded.
Olynyk says, “I hope out of all of this that it shows other communities, rural or urban, to be asking more questions about the administration.
Olynyk’s children will now be zoned for Calmar, but she is waiting to make decisions on which school her kids will attend or if they will be home-schooled based on the status of COVID-19 come fall.
Black Gold School Division appreciates the efforts put forth by parents to try to save the school, and is offering supports such as counselling for New Humble Centre School families that may need extra assistance with the transition.
“This process has been a heart wrenching one, and on behalf of Senior Administration and the Board of Trustees, I want to thank the New Humble community for their passion and their contributions to this process,” stated CEO/Superintendent of Schools, Bill Romanchuk. “Throughout this process, all members of the community were passionate. They should be commended for being advocates for their school and for their children. Regardless of which Black Gold School children attend, their futures are bright.”