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Parents rally to fight closure of southeast school

A small southeast school scheduled for closure has a big crowd of community members trying to save it.

A small southeast school scheduled for closure has a big crowd of community members trying to save it.

"We have close to a thousand signatures right now," said Shannon Coleman, parent of three Harold W. Riley students.

One of the reasons Coleman wants to save the school is because her son, Colin, has special needs and has found a home there, much like many of its 105 students.

"The community thinks our school has a lot to offer," added Coleman.

Should Riley close, students will have three other district schools to choose from, none of which suffer from declining enrolment, which is what landed Riley on the chopping board.

Such small numbers are what made Sarah Hein choose Riley in the first place for her two little ones, one of whom also has special needs.

"If I'm fighting already in a small classroom, what's the fight going to be like in a large class?" asked Hein, adding, "he needs a lot of special attention and one-on-one time."

But parents have other concerns too. What about increased fees for bussing and lunch, and how will the school closure affect their property values?

Phil Carlton of the Calgary Board of Education said board members will answer those questions at a Wednesday open house, which will also serve as an opportunity for community members to have their say.

"The trustees take all that into consideration as they debate the motion and make a decision whether they will indeed go ahead with the foreclosure," said Carlton.

The board must wait three weeks before making a final decision. For now it's learning as usual for Harold W. Riley students.

 
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