Major changes may be coming to five elementary schools in West Hill, according to a report presented at the Accommodation Review Committee meeting at Joseph Brant Senior Public School on March 29.
The recommended changes are a result of four months of discussions and debates on how to deal with a declining student body in the Toronto District School Board.
Currently, Heron Park, Peter Secor, Eastview, and William G. Miller teach kindergarten to Grade 6, while Joseph Brant teaches Grades 7 and 8.
Heron Park and Peter Secor will be combined with Joseph Brant to create a school that will teach kindergarten and Grades 1 through 8, according to area superintendant Allan Wolch. The remaining two schools are to be restructured to teach up to Grade 8.
Although it is a difficult decision, the changes are necessary to deal with declining enrolment, Wolch said.
“We’ll be providing an enhanced educational model for all three of these schools [and] reduce operational costs.”
While all the facilities will be upgraded to deal with the expected larger student body, Joseph Brant will see the most renovation with 18 additional classrooms to serve primary and special education classes.
It is hoped William G. Miller and Eastview will be ready for September 2011 and Joseph Brant ready for September 2012, Wolch said.
The community’s reaction has been mostly positive, he said.
“It’s difficult to close a school. It’s emotional and it tears at your heart. The reason we were successful in achieving what we wanted to achieve in this [review committee], we presented a better educational program for the kids.”