Those with their ears to the ground in the area have been hopping all weekend (hence the e-mails I received) over the 'brief' and the proposal it contains for a 'Centre of excellence' model. Essentially, the document is a pitch for a rebuilt school campus on the Niagara District Secondary School site that would be a K-12 facility encompassing all high school-aged children within the municipality, regardless of whether they currently attend NDSS, Eden or the local Catholic school.
The document is fairly repetitive. The centre model is mentioned about half a dozen times, and a sleep after reading it in full, the following percolate to the top:
- District School Board of Niagara? Bad. Very bad.
- Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake? Good, very good.
- Families who chose to attend school elsewhere? Forced at gunpoint by the choices made by DSBN in its messianic mission to close NDSS.
- Eden? Unholy and very, very bad. Should never have existed. Those kids should be integrated in our Centre of Excellence.
- Our proposal? Awesome. Especially since the chamber did a survey (with really loaded questions) that shows 76% support! We're so good, we didn't leave any time for potential delegates to sign up and tell us what they think because no one hates this proposal, do they?
It also provides only the briefest peek at why the DSBN staff members provided some of the advice / direction they did. This report continually smacks the DSBN for not allowing the community to openly promote itself to students attending other schools. While the authors argue the board has been covertly and overtly doing so for about 10 years, a board letter in the appendices provides more insight. It suggests that if the doors were thrown open on NDSS competing for students in other schools, the board would let other high schools overtly do the same to NDSS' population. Who would lose the most students then?
It also selectively quotes the minutes from the rats' nest of motions in June 2008 that led to the 350-student threshold, despite earlier hints this is where the council committee was going to concentrate its opposition. This centre of excellence model
I'm sure someone at DSBN is preparing a response to this brief.