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Elementary school closure committee not rushing final recommendations

Public meeting planned for Jan. 21 pushed back two weeks

By Gord Bowes, News staff

The committee looking at what public elementary schools to close on the central Mountain is not rushing its decision.
It may even ask for extra time to come up with its final recommendation to trustees.
The committee was scheduled to finalize the options it supports on Tuesday night and present them at a public meeting on Jan. 21. But faced with 13 new scenarios to consider, members asked for additional time to hash things out.
The scenarios came from members of the public and arrived after the committee had narrowed down 20 of its own ideas down to three options.
“We’re not only answering to the board, we’re answering to the public,” said Linden Park representative Philip Viana, who noted the community has asked the committee not to rush through the process.

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SEE MORE: Panel rejects 8 public suggestions on closures, will review five others

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Two additional working group meetings have been added, pushing back the final public meeting to Feb. 4.
At that time, detailed options on closures will be presented. The committee will then hold one more working meeting on Feb. 11 to ingest public input and come up with its final recommendations to trustees.
That fits within the committee’s mandate from the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board of presenting options for trustees by Feb. 20.
But at Tuesday’s meeting several members talked about the need to add some breathing space between meetings, rather than hold them five weeks in a row. That would require asking the board for more time; the idea will be discussed at the committee’s next meeting.
A delay could impact the board’s staffing plans for the 2014-15 school year as well as the current staff recommendation of closing Queensdale, Eastmount Park and Linden Park in June.

The board is in the process of closing schools to deal with declining enrolment and a lack of funding to keep all of its schools open.

 

 

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