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Friday October 30th, 2015

Posted at 4:10pm

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Essex Town Council held an emergency meeting Friday morning to discuss the steps that can be taken to obtain review of the public school board’s recent decision to close Harrow District High School at the end of the school year.

With the support from Essex Town Council and assistance from lawyer James Cooke of Ducharme, Fox, the Harrow Committee will be seeking an administrative review of the pupil accommodation review process and the Board of Trustees’ decision made on October 13th. A request for administrative review must be filed within 30 days of a board’s closure decision.

“Council remains very concerned about the pending impact the school closure will have on the community and its youth,” said CAO Russ Phillips. “Council has directed administration not only to communicate with various provincial ministries to raise awareness about the future social and economic impacts on the community, but also to obtain legal advice on all available options.“

A critical requirement of the administrative review is to submit a petition signed by a number of supporters – typically parents or guardians – equal to at least 30% of the student headcount. The Harrow Committee’s petition currently contains over 180 names.

Parents of Harrow High School students wishing to sign the petition this weekend may contact Sheri Dzudovich at 519-738-2720 or 519-977-2828.

The petition and a formal request for review will be submitted to the Greater Essex County District School Board and the Minister of Education before the appeal period expires on November 12th. If the petition meets the ministry’s criteria, a facilitator will be appointed to determine whether the board’s accommodation review process was undertaken in a manner consistent with its locally developed policy.

Only the school board has the authority to change a decision made by elected trustees.

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