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.
Scarborough schools affected include Joseph Brant, Heron Park Junior Public School, Peter Secor Junior Public School, Eastview Junior Public School and William G. Miller Junior Public School.[iframe: src=”http://maps.google.ca/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=110978219570456371779.000483bd7c601ddc4f989&ll=43.765763,-79.177523&spn=0.021695,0.036478&z=14&output=embed” width=”550″ height=”350″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″]
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.”
I hope the Toronto Observer returns to the scene of this school closing crime in two years time. It will be an eye opener to inspect the promised renovations at Wm G. Miller P.S.and Eastview P.S. in September 2011. A subsequent inspection the following year at Joseph Brant will probably not reveal much in the way of 18 new classrooms promised by the TDSB. It is highly likely that a lot of the building alteration promised to the community at four public Accomdation Review Committee meetings will never come to fruition. The Toronto District School Board is divesting itself of publicly owned school properties, by order of the provincial government, in order to address a two billion dollar maintenance deficit and other financial short falls. School reconstruction defeats the purpose of closing schools. The purpose of closing schools is to create savings to address a funding shortfall and generate revenue from selling the property.
In two years time, the West Hill residents will be shocked to see the number of elementary schools in their neighbourhood plummet from five to three. They will be angry at how overcrowded the remaining schools are. They will wonder what happened to the promised retrofits as they count the portables at their kids’ schools. Other communities beware the coming ARC swindle.