Update: Here’s what TDSB has said on their website:
Kent Sr. PS, ALPHA II Alternative School, Dovercourt Jr. PS, Pauline Jr. PS, and Brock Jr. PS
- Brock Jr. PS and Dovercourt Jr. PS will convert to JK to Gr.8 with phased in implementation beginning in September 2011.
- The location of ALPHA II Alternative will be referred to staff for recommendation to the Board within in 6 months.
- Following the relocation of regular day school students from Kent Sr. PS and Alpha II Alternative School, the Kent/Alpha II school building located at 980 Dufferin Street will be closed.
Shutting Some Door Opens Others
Brock Jr. P.S, Dovercourt Jr. P.S and Kent Sr. P.S. are just a few Toronto schools facing possible closure in coming years.
The TCDSB states on its website that “…reviews [of] ten areas [including Dovercourt],. ..prioritized.. .based on input from Superintendents of Education, Trustees,…. [factoring in] the programs delivered by schools; the use of school buildings; current and projected enrolments; grade ranges; and the distribution of… sites.”
According to Etobicoke trustee John Campbell, 92 of 533 Toronto public schools have enrollments of less than 60%. The board has approved a plan setting a target size of 450 students in consolidated elementary schools, 1,200 at the high school level, and a phasing out of middle schools. The TDSB loses approximately 4,000 students every year.
“What parents have to understand is that… we’re trying to.. enable schools that have larger student populations and more programming options,… cut[ting] down on costs,… reinvest[ing] in better schools,… new libraries,… gymnasiums and additions,” Mr. Campbell said in an interview. “The under enrolled secondary schools… can hardly offer a variety of programs,… many don’t have basketball teams,… music… or Latin.”
Small town or big city, there will forever be two “schools of thought” when it comes to shutting down schools. My daughter is in JK this year. I can walk her to school in less than twenty minutes, and can get home in less than ten with my grown-up legs. Her neighbor is in the class right next door to hers. I admit I wouldn’t be happy if the walk was much longer at her age. A neighborhood school is a special part of the community, and is filled with cherished history and memories for thousands of people. Splitting up groups of friends and uprooting established students is quite the adjustment for young people who are already facing a big, scary world. But my daughter is lucky; she has a music teacher, a gym teacher, access to team sports, and class trips. If the fun stuff that keeps kids IN SCHOOL is in jeopardy, a school a little further away would be a small price to pay for a well-rounded education.