Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Six motions too late?

St. Catharines Standard ed. reporter Tiffany Mayer had this quick post Tuesday evening highlighting six, count 'em, six notices of motion in a vain, 11th-hour attempt to stave off the inevitable conclusion of the consequences when the Ministry of Education's Oct. 31 count dates shows Niagara District Secondary School's enrolment will lead to its closure.
(Niagara trustee Lynn) Campbell’s first motion, to come forward at the Oct. 27 board meeting, asks that the board rescind last year’s motion imposing the Oct. 31 deadline to hit the 350-student mark or close NDSS after this year.
Campbell outlines several reasons for rescinding the motion, including anticipation of the approval of NDSS’s international baccalaureate program, the efforts of a conglomerate of municipal leaders to convince Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne to impose a moratorium on disputed school closings, and out of respect for the new crop of Grade 9 students who hope to graduate from the beleaguered high school.
Depending on the outcome of that motion, Campbell has other options for those interested in saving NDSS, which has an enrolment of about 250 students. Subsequent motions will ask the board to keep the school open for five years, with NDSS growing its student body to 500 students by Oct. 31, 2013, or else be shuttered.
Should that fail, Campbell will go on to ask that NDSS stay open four more years and then be re-evaluated.
Pending the outcome of that vote, her remaining motions ask that NDSS stay open for three more years, two more years or five more years, respectively, and then be re-evaluated.
Trustee Campbell should be commended for fighting the good fight.
Then her peers at the board should, as they have since they made the unique decision, stand by their earlier decision. Her reasons for reconsideration are... weak. Despite her best intentions, the Community Schools Alliance was firmly told it could stick its "smart" moratorium back on the idea shelf it came from after the group met with Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne on Aug. 17 in Ottawa. There's nothing to suggest an MPP letter-writing campaign (look, we can fill in form letters too!!) will merit any change of opinion on the requested moratorium.
Every one of her other motions simply postpones what looks to be an inevitability. IB programme, no IB programme, football team or not, the school is under the enrolment target set by trustees in 2008. An enrolment target the community (and its political leaders) all but said could be met without a problem as actual enrolment remained stubbornly stagnant.
Now the calendar shows some 17 days to the count date and creating those 100 pupils isn't a reality.
Campbell's throwing motions at the wall like half-cooked spaghetti noodles hoping one of the strands will stick. Problem is, the water's been boiling on a solution for over a year and she's only just remembered to put the noodles in the water yesterday.


Anonymous said...

Well Hugo your almost correct with your statements regarding low enrollment and boiling water.

Let me try to explain it this way..ready

1988 Eden was welcomed by the old board and embraced by the public system. Keep in mind Eden is about 150 to 200 feet in distance from NDSS.

Eden was to be part of NDSS at that time NDSS had just over 500 kids and Eden maybe 200, the old board including Dalton Clark who is still a trustee! said the principal of NDSS at the Time did not want the New kids at NDSS so they left them at there old location for nearly 10 years before moving them to St Catharines in 1998.

Trustees planning an ARC for 1999 to close NDSS down was the second part to kill NDSS now that Eden had been moved to St Catharines..are you following me so far?

Third part was bus all the kids out to St Catharines for high school nearly 300 kids because the board was taking programing away at NDSS and the less kids at NDSS means its easier to close.

Fourth part the board has not invested programs or money other than day to day ops like they have other high schools.

Fith part the Dsbn decide to have another ARC and announce it in 2007 now we have further declining enrollment because parents and kids think its going to you see a pattern Hugo?

there are over 700 kids that attend high school but they are going elsewhere because they know the board has this thing to shut down NDSS..its no secret in our town.

so today we are throwing spagehti at the wall and members of the town are trying there best to have the kids come to there home school

the board has been boiling water and making there pasta stick!

Paolo Miele

Anonymous said...

Anon. 6:29

ARCs didn't exist in 1999.

What did was a much shorter timeline process and the school boards were trusted to do their own consultations as they saw fit.

Education Reporter said...


No doubt the 'lingering cloud' of closure and accommodation reviews has a chicken-and-egg impact on enrolment and program offering. Did students stay away and cause the decreased program offerings? Or do decreasing program options (caused by low enrolment, not by specific decisions to move programs away) keep enrolment low?

The reality is it's extremely challenging for an English-language southern Ontario board to offer the full breadth and depth of credits at the Grade 11 and 12 levels when there are only enough students in the grade cohort to form two or three classes.

My point in this post was to suggest despite the bravado of the locals in suggesting they could reverse the stubbornly stagnant and dropping enrolment, it didn't happen.

Families and students continued to vote with their feet and chose other schools.

From where I sit hundreds of kms away, I'm not aware of anyone who attempted to address that, when if the 700 high school-aged students in NOTL attended NDSS, the situation would be vastly different.

Re-considerations and extensions of deadlines only prolong the inevitable until that question can be addressed, and as time continues to pass are only proven to be futile.


Anonymous said...

Yes there was an ARC in 1999 or shorter time lines however you would like to call it, regardless the Dsbn continues to do what they see fit! and sign your name to your comment don't hide behind a key

Paolo Miele

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. 6:29

ARCs didn't exist in 1999.

What did was a much shorter timeline process and the school boards were trusted to do their own consultations as they saw fit.

15 October, 2009 08:39