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

Eight scenarios remain on the table as a committee of parents and staff come up with their final set of options on which central Mountain elementary public schools to shutter.
Previously, the committee narrowed down 15 of its own ideas down to three options.
At its meeting Tuesday night, another 13 scenarios submitted by the public were discussed. Eight were dismissed quickly — most for suggesting the closure of too many schools, causing student disruptions and logistical problems. One of the rejected ideas involved closing seven of the eight schools involved in the review, leaving just Ridgemount open and building new schools at Linden Park, Pauline Johnson and Queensdale.

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SEE MORE: Elementary school closure committee not rushing final recommendations

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At next Tuesday’s meeting, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board staff were expected to have a financial breakdown of the five new scenarios for committee members to them narrow down the choices.
The committee previously pared down 15 of its own ideas to three, identified here by their option numbers:
Option 6
• Close Queensdale in 2015, shifting students to G.L. Armstrong
• Close Eastmount Park in 2015. Students north of Queensdale Avenue go to Armstrong; those south go to Franklin Road
• Close Linden Park in 2015. Students east of Upper Wellington Street go to Pauline Johnson; those to the west shift to Ridgemount
• Cardinal Heights remains middle school for Pauline Johnson and Ridgemount
Option 7
• Close Eastmount Park in 2015, shifting students to Armstrong
• Close Linden Park in 2015. Students east of Upper Wellington Street go to Franklin Road; those west shift to Queensdale, which becomes a JK-8 school
• Cardinal Heights remains middle school for Pauline Johnson and Ridgemount
Option 11
• Close Queensdale, Eastmount Park and Armstrong; build a new K-8 school at Armstrong
• Close Linden Park, shifting students to Franklin Road and Ridgemount; the latter gets an addition to become a K-8 school
• Close either Pauline Johnson or Cardinal Heights and retrofit remaining school for JK-8

At the outset of the process, board staff outlined their preference:
• Close Queensdale and Eastmount Park in June 2014. Students shift to Armstrong or Franklin Road, which will both be renovated for full-day kindergarten.
• Close Linden Park in June 2014. Students go to Pauline Johnson or Ridgemount; latter to add two full-day kindergarten rooms and six classrooms by September 2016.
• Pauline Johnson becomes JK-3 school and Cardinal Heights a grades 4 to 8 school, in September 2014. If the board gets funding, a new JK-8 school on site for 550 students closes both.

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