Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Still no decision in Simcoe County

Stress shows on supporters of Elmvale District High School as school trustees go around the table Monday night offering little assurance that the school might be saved. J.T. McVeigh / Sun Media

Barrie had this story Tuesday about the Simcoe County District School Board's continued debate on the future of five of its high schools. This is one for those who would claim trustees simply rubber-stamp the recommendations that come from senior administration. Not in this board and not in this review.

Trustee Brad Saunders said last night reports from other accommodation review committees have been accepted in the past.

"Why wouldn't we show the same respect to members of ARC 'B'. I would encourage trustees to stand up for smaller schools in Simcoe County," he said.

"The board should be active and petition the Ministry of Education to support smaller high schools in our area, " Saunders added.

Trustees noted that excess capacity at the schools is at the heart of the debate and that funding from the ministry is based on enrollment. Student numbers are dropping across the county, although EDHS is at 160 per cent capacity.

Trustee Donna Armstrong suggested a rate increase would be in the works if the ARC 'B' recommendations were adopted.

"If we follow them, we can't maintain all these schools," she said.

I don't know if the board can make this decision over the summer break as the guidelines don't allow any other part of the accommodation review process to happen when students aren't in school.


Anonymous said...

Kudos for Trustee Saunders for standing up for small schools.

Something we forget..many families are making small communities AND small schools their choice but support for these same communities for marketing and resources to help preserve that choice is dearly lacking.

Education Reporter said...

Not just marketing and resources but planning and housing! Accessible, affordable housing draws families with young children. Much of the newer housing in smaller towns and villages isn't accessible (financially) for most families, hence why they choose or are driven to urban areas.