Petition on proposed amalgamation

A group of parents in the Roscommon region are currently collecting signatures in relation to the proposed amalgamation of the Convent of Mercy and Christian Brothers secondary school.             A spokesperson for the parents involved this week issued a press statement calling for public support for the petition. ‘In March of this year the Trustees of the CBS Roscommon called a meeting to discuss the future of secondary catholic education in Roscommon Town. At this meeting the Trustees informed us that together with the Trustees of the Convent of Mercy, they had approached the Department of Education to discuss the viability of amalgamating the existing secondary schools in Roscommon, with continued voluntary Catholic involvement.             ‘The Trustees also told us that though the Department would not commit to any decision at that stage they felt that the Dept would look favourably on the provision of a ‘single-education centre’ for Roscommon – with regard to funding applications for development and perhaps the building of a new school should a suitable site be available.             ‘The purpose of the meeting was to start the defined procedure in order to progress the amalgamation outlined. This involved the appointment of a facilitator who would meet with interested parties and draw up a report on the ‘feelings’ towards such an amalgamation. It was clear at this meeting that most parents present did not support the amalgamation presented.             ‘Following this meeting a public meeting was organised for 2nd April, it was well attended and allowed for a frank discussion on the pros and cons of the proposed amalgamation. At the end of the meeting a show of hands was asked for which gave overwhelming support for the retention of the existing secondary school structure and in direct opposition to the proposed amalgamation of the CBS and the Convent of Mercy to create one large single school for in excess of one thousand pupils.             ‘On that night, concerned parents formed a group who have held regular meetings and are coordinating opposition to the amalgamation of the Convent of Mercy and CBS as presented to the secondary school parents in March of this year.             ‘We have been actively seeking a meeting with the appointed facilitator in order to present our views to him (before the deadline given of end June 2007).   As of yet this has not happened and at the time of writing it was unlikely that we would have this opportunity before September 2007 – though we have been informed that the original deadline of end June 2007 has been extended.             ‘We have made contact with the Department of Education to make them aware of the opposition to the amalgamation in Roscommon. We have also discussed and looked for information on alternatives to the amalgamation outlined. What we have found is many working examples where proposed amalgamation was not carried through because they did not have the support of the Boards of Management, staff, and parents.             ‘We are organising a petition requesting that the trustees for both the Convent of Mercy and CBS, their appointed facilitator and the Department of Education do not proceed with the proposed amalgamation and demanding that they investigate alternative options. We will publicise this petition via the local media, church newsletters and feeder schools. Subject to permission, we will have petition sheets at local churches over the weekend of 9th -10th June 2007.             ‘If you do not support the proposed amalgamation and would like an alternative explored – please add your signature to the petition at your local church or at your local primary school. If you would like to pass a petition sheet among your own friends/contacts we will happily forward sheets to you.   If you are able and willing to collect signatures – please call! If you would like to get more involved with the ‘group of concerned parents’ we would be delighted with your support and help. Please call/text (086) 1779789 or (087) 9196692 for further information and/or petition sheets.’