A Saskatchewan perspective

Carrot River - Tuesday, April 3, 2007 by: Kevin McIntyre

Editor's note: On Sunday this web site posted a story by Mrs. Ina Leippi who told of her sad concern about the possible closing of their school in Kronau

All this posturing over school closures is so stupid. What, reality doesn't deliver to Saskatchewan? The two cities are growing yet the over all population has been dropping. Rural areas are really getting nailed hard. Reports of schools K~12 with 44 students, well it must be nice considering that was the population of my eighth grade class *in one room and one room only*! Grade 9 they split the class. The cost to run those schools must be horrible per capita student. In the 70's we wore our down filled jackets all day as the rooms were so cold you'd almost see your breath. I'm so sure the schools today are nice and toasty warm.

Saar school according to Google Earth is 15 miles to inside of Ring Road. 90% of the people in that town by the authors own admission work in Regina. So when you go into the city to work drop your kid off at school. After school they go to their activities or daycare until you're off work. Its called the real world.

When I went there in the 70's Arborfield had a student population of 200 students over 12 grades. Only the most basic of courses were offered and although we had an industrial arts programme the basics of carpentry, plumbing and electrical were not on the programme. "We're a small school and we can offer those courses". Carrot River, then as now, was a bigger school (and in a different school district) but those courses were available. For students who wanted more they caught a bus that took them to Nipawin and left Nipawin at 3:PM. From there they transferred to the rural bus that made the regular run. If you want to have your child get a proper education and socialise beyond your own local kin folk - these things are done.

In my lifetime, 45 years, I've seen the death of Moose Range, Aylsham (whose students as early as 1970 were bussed to Nipawin 25 miles away for 7~12) and now you might as well put Arborfield and Zenon Park on that list. Zenon is half the size of Arborfield and has two schools. The French school and the "real French" school. The real one built in the last ten years at the cost of several million dollars as the original one wasn't French enough. Never mind it was a family squabble between cousins who likely started the whole thing because one buried the others Tonka Truck while playing Sand Box - those schools will never close simply because they're French.

So your kid has to get on the bus at 7:15AM in the morning and go to a town you have no real connection to and be with someone who is an "Outsider"? Boo Hoo. I lived eight miles from Arborfield, across the river and in a different telephone exchange. I rode the bus from 7:15AM to 4:45PM everyday to go to a town I had no connection to, where everyone was someone else's cousin and I was the outsider. In my classroom we had three students who were brothers / sisters, none twins, and two who were uncle and niece. If you dared say anything about anyone you got the crap beat out of you. Because we were a small school we had teachers who did the absolute minimum to collect a paycheck then would tell the parents "the work is there if they want to do it". Tenure, can't fire them and the one they tried to, jumped into the political side of it and pushed his way to the president of the STF. No one knew how he was ever given his teachers certificate in the first place, but small schools can't be choosers. That's life and at that, we're taxed to death. Don't like it, start breeding up more kids to flll the schools back up again. Here we're 25 miles away from a hospital that has the worst nursing staff you could ever imagine and 75 miles away from a practicing dentist. Where's the news crew to cover our dilemma?

Twelve foot cultivators and a family on every quarter of land: when was the last time you saw that?


Kevin Mcintyre



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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