Thursday, October 8, 2009

Orillia review urges closure

Nathan Taylor at the Packet and Times had this story posted Wednesday regarding a Simcoe-Muskoka Catholic District School Board review of two Orillia schools. The most recent board report on the review is on the SMCDSB's website.
The review committee's recommendation is to close and consolidate both current schools at a new site.
Parents, including Monsignor Lee parent council chair Mardi McLaughlin, explained some of the issues and inadequacies of which the board is already aware.
"We have a very dangerous bus and drop-off zone," she said, noting the heavy traffic volume in front of the school, which is located on Fittons Road at Peter Street. "This is a safety issue that must be addressed before there is a serious incident."
The schoolyard is too small, she said, adding they almost had to cancel some sports due the small playing field. At Monsignor Lee, it works out to 20 square metres per student, she said, while, at Notre Dame School, it's 155 square metres.
Two other parents spoke in favour of the PAC's recommendation for similar reasons, and praised the committee for its hard work.
"We know that we're headed in the right direction," said Jeff Waite, whose son attends Monsignor Lee.
The matter comes before trustees Oct. 14.
It's a second recent example of where a review committee has been able to, while acknowledging the difficulty in closing a school, been able to see how the dreaded option leads to improved schools for their children. This is a review's biggest challenge-- to move past the status quo and see how they can get the best for all students whose schools are included in the review.