Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ottawa looks at three schools

A few accommodation reviews are coming to a conclusion in Ottawa, with reports yesterday about their pending appearance before the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board later this week. Check out the Ottawa Sun story (by a former co-worker of mine), the Ottawa Citizen, CBC Ottawa and CTV Ottawa. The board has reports on both the high school and elementary reviews.
I've got some significant familiarity here-- Gloucester High School is a stone's throw from the family home in Ottawa (though not my alma mater) and Colonel By isn't much further away, about five minutes as the raven flies. Rideau High School -- with a population just over 500 pupils -- is recommended for closure in the high school review, with students and programs mostly transferred to Gloucester High School.
Dealing solely with the high school review, the committee had recommended status quo-- keeping all three high schools open when none of the three is at capacity. Knowing the Gloucester-Colonel By area quite well, and the Rideau neighbourhood too, these are communities whose glory days of children with heaps of young families have passed. Not to say there aren't any young families, but as an example, in the family abode's immediate neighbourhood, there haven't been any school-aged children at all for some five years or more. Like me, we've all graduated and moved on, with precious few of us having kids since leaving the nest.
This sets up another situation where trustees will be forced to decide between a staff recommendation that attempts to address changing dynamics, and a set of committee recommendations pushing for the status quo. Who will "win?" If the committee's recommendation isn't followed, will it accept the decision? Or will Ottawa be the next member of the Community Schools Alliance?
If time allows, I'll update post committee-of-the-whole meeting Friday.