Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Belleville ARC recommendations

It's possible this education reporter's own experiences covering accommodation review committees (ARCs) have created a more pessimistic outlook on how other areas in Ontario handle this process. Check out this story from Belleville where the ARC's recommendations to trustees include the closure of a prohibitive-to-repair school and the expansion of two others.
The committee's final report to trustees supports the administration's initial recommendations to close one school and convert two other schools into JK-8 facilities with expansions and facility renewal. The resulting schools' populations are projected to be a stable 300ish students, which is larger than some of the current schools, but (as staff would inform anyone who asked) provide more flexibility to deal with supervision and prep time demands.
A section of the report reads:
"The Accommodation Review Committee for Sir Mackenzie Bowell Public School does not feel that this is the ideal solution but given financial restrictions recognizes that there are not a lot of workable alternatives. The concern of the school committee is that all potential benefits recognized by the committee for the recommended scenario find fruition."
Read: if you must close our school, please make sure you follow through on all the facility upgrades and improvements so our students are learning in the best possible environment.
That's a reasonable request.
For the record, the public input meeting held by the committee -- the last official ARC function before the final report is usually tabled with trustees -- lasted all of 10 minutes. Some who've presented to the committee already or held back could still step forward and make their views known directly to trustees when the board votes on the final outcome of the accommodation review.