By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
A Hamilton Wentworth District accommodation review process that resulted in a recommendation to close Parkside Secondary School violated the board’s own policy, but the violation had no significant impact on the final decision, according to the findings of an administrative review.
In her report released late Wednesday afternoon, review facilitator Margaret Wilson concluded there is no evidence repeating the ARC process would produce additional information that might change the outcome.
“The final decision was made, following a detailed consultative process, by well informed Trustees,” Wilson stated in her report.
Wilson found the board’s School Information Profiles did not fairly indicate the value of facilities in the Dundas Driving Park, nor the impact of the school on local businesses. And she pointed out that the ARC website was not updated with that information.
But she said that information did eventually come out during committee discussions.
“The Board was not fully compliant with its Policy on the SIPS, but, since the critical information did become available to ARC members,this had no significant effect on the outcome of the ARC,” Wilson states in her report.
She makes several suggestions for changes to the board’s ARC process, including redesigning the School Information Profiles to emphasize the qualitative value of a school to students and local community.
“In addition, any partnerships, particularly those where there is a long-term formal lease relationship, such as the Driving Park, should be described not only in terms of the quality and quantity of the facilities but in terms of dollar value,” Wilson stated in her report. “Value to the local community should also consider the direct contribution a school makes to the local economy when members of the school community shop, go to restaurants…”
Wilson suggested adding Waterdown’s high school to the West ARC would have made the process more transparent “and was no more irrelevant than having Westdale at the table.”
She stated ARC members clearly thought boundaries were an issue but were untouchable.
“The Board may wish to reconsider how it decides on school groupings, especially when boundaries are an issue, in future ARCs,” Wilson stated in her report.