Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A smorgasbord of capital coverage

The open tabs in my browser relating to coverage of school-review committees, reports, board capital planning and other capital issues is slightly overwhelming. It's also fantastic, I think.
There are some large decisions ahead of some boards of trustees in Ontario and the coverage shows engaged communities, for the most part, stepping up to the plate to take part in the process. Some examples?
  • The Owen Sound Sun Times' coverage of a council urging participation in a Chesley/Hanover review;
  • Several Barrie Examiner items -- A neat discussion and some proposals surrounding Elmvale DSS (member of a tabled review) as well as a Barrie city council vote on Barrie Central, member of a separate review;
  • Several Peterborough Examiner items on a high school review that's in its initial stages, drawing a preview of a community meeting held Monday as well as extensive coverage of the meetings themselves here along with a separate article/video on each school here, here and here;
  • Two from the North Bay Nugget on a board-level capital review (one, two), coincidentally the first coverage I've seen since the start of the school year that references a ministry time line for submission of an annual capital plan; and,
  • Coverage out of Sarnia revolving around a decision before trustees on the future of French-immersion programming in Petrolia.
Was particularly impressed with the Peterborough coverage -- they pulled all the stops and assigned multiple reporters to a review that will quite definitely reshape the public high school experience in that city. [Disclosure: I interned at the Examiner in 1999 while completing my degree] Having lived briefly in Peterborough 10 years ago and knowing families who've attended all the schools in question, I'm even more impressed by the paper's commitment. I do hope they sustain it, and that it proceeds beyond the 'boosterism' that flavours everything posted today. There are 1,000 vacant pupil places among the schools in the review. That's on par or a tad larger than the student populations of the majority of high schools in the province. The status quo will not get rid of those unfunded spaces and take them off the board's inventory, though recommendations might point to options that shed the vacant space without massive closure and/or consolidation.
As I've mentioned in this space before, these are the things that school boards are dealing with across the province. It's great to see this selection of articles and coverage from the past week.