Hamilton Mountain school closure studies face another delay

News Dec 31, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

The chair of Hamilton’s public school board says there’s a “realistic” chance trustees will delay the next round of elementary school-closure studies, including one covering Beasley, Lisgar and Lawfield on the east and central Mountain.

Todd White said although three accommodation reviews, or ARCs, are still scheduled for this fall, trustees face a heavy agenda between now and June that may waylay the plan a second time.

The studies were already pushed back from last fall to give the public a breather from the first round of ARCs, including the one closing Linden Park, Eastmount Park and Cardinal Heights on the central Mountain at the end of June.

White said he expects trustees to have a better idea by March if the new reviews will proceed this year.

Among potential holdups are the need to hire a new education director, set strategic directions for the coming term, do an internal audit of the previous reviews and consider potential changes to the board’s ARC policy for the next round, he said.

White said staff is planning to unveil a new elementary school program strategy this spring that could also affect the timing of the reviews, part of an overall push to eliminate 5,000 empty classroom spaces.

He said trustees will have to approve the reviews by June for them to start this fall.

“There’s a lot of work to be done and virtually only six months to do it,” White said. “It would be a very, very tight timeline to meet for us to land an accommodation review policy by June.”

White said the schools in the next studies could also always change, but they won’t have the obvious excess capacity issues of the first round, including the ARC on central Mountain, where there were about 800 empty seats.

Lawfield, which opened in 2007 and offers a French immersion program, is above its 633 capacity and needs four portables to accommodate 720 students in junior kindergarten to Grade 8.

Lisgar opened in 1964 and has 287 students in JK to 8, about 75 per cent of its 380 capacity, while Beasley opened in 1968 and has 180 students in JK to 5, about 70 per cent of its 256 capacity.

Central Mountain trustee Dawn Danko, who represents Lawfield, said unlike the first round of reviews, some schools may want an ARC as a way to relieve overcrowding, including by potentially redrawing boundaries.

Complicating Lawfield’s enrolment, she said, is the French immersion program, which draws students from a broader area.

Danko said she believes trustees have some work to do before the next studies, including the ARC audit and policy review, the latter of which could be affected by proposed new guidelines from the province.

“I would expect with the seven new trustees that the strategic direction might change a little bit,” she said. “All those things have to happen first before we can responsibly jump into another set of ARCs.”

Hamilton Mountain school closure studies face another delay

News Dec 31, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

The chair of Hamilton’s public school board says there’s a “realistic” chance trustees will delay the next round of elementary school-closure studies, including one covering Beasley, Lisgar and Lawfield on the east and central Mountain.

Todd White said although three accommodation reviews, or ARCs, are still scheduled for this fall, trustees face a heavy agenda between now and June that may waylay the plan a second time.

The studies were already pushed back from last fall to give the public a breather from the first round of ARCs, including the one closing Linden Park, Eastmount Park and Cardinal Heights on the central Mountain at the end of June.

White said he expects trustees to have a better idea by March if the new reviews will proceed this year.

Among potential holdups are the need to hire a new education director, set strategic directions for the coming term, do an internal audit of the previous reviews and consider potential changes to the board’s ARC policy for the next round, he said.

White said staff is planning to unveil a new elementary school program strategy this spring that could also affect the timing of the reviews, part of an overall push to eliminate 5,000 empty classroom spaces.

He said trustees will have to approve the reviews by June for them to start this fall.

“There’s a lot of work to be done and virtually only six months to do it,” White said. “It would be a very, very tight timeline to meet for us to land an accommodation review policy by June.”

White said the schools in the next studies could also always change, but they won’t have the obvious excess capacity issues of the first round, including the ARC on central Mountain, where there were about 800 empty seats.

Lawfield, which opened in 2007 and offers a French immersion program, is above its 633 capacity and needs four portables to accommodate 720 students in junior kindergarten to Grade 8.

Lisgar opened in 1964 and has 287 students in JK to 8, about 75 per cent of its 380 capacity, while Beasley opened in 1968 and has 180 students in JK to 5, about 70 per cent of its 256 capacity.

Central Mountain trustee Dawn Danko, who represents Lawfield, said unlike the first round of reviews, some schools may want an ARC as a way to relieve overcrowding, including by potentially redrawing boundaries.

Complicating Lawfield’s enrolment, she said, is the French immersion program, which draws students from a broader area.

Danko said she believes trustees have some work to do before the next studies, including the ARC audit and policy review, the latter of which could be affected by proposed new guidelines from the province.

“I would expect with the seven new trustees that the strategic direction might change a little bit,” she said. “All those things have to happen first before we can responsibly jump into another set of ARCs.”

Hamilton Mountain school closure studies face another delay

News Dec 31, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

The chair of Hamilton’s public school board says there’s a “realistic” chance trustees will delay the next round of elementary school-closure studies, including one covering Beasley, Lisgar and Lawfield on the east and central Mountain.

Todd White said although three accommodation reviews, or ARCs, are still scheduled for this fall, trustees face a heavy agenda between now and June that may waylay the plan a second time.

The studies were already pushed back from last fall to give the public a breather from the first round of ARCs, including the one closing Linden Park, Eastmount Park and Cardinal Heights on the central Mountain at the end of June.

White said he expects trustees to have a better idea by March if the new reviews will proceed this year.

Among potential holdups are the need to hire a new education director, set strategic directions for the coming term, do an internal audit of the previous reviews and consider potential changes to the board’s ARC policy for the next round, he said.

White said staff is planning to unveil a new elementary school program strategy this spring that could also affect the timing of the reviews, part of an overall push to eliminate 5,000 empty classroom spaces.

He said trustees will have to approve the reviews by June for them to start this fall.

“There’s a lot of work to be done and virtually only six months to do it,” White said. “It would be a very, very tight timeline to meet for us to land an accommodation review policy by June.”

White said the schools in the next studies could also always change, but they won’t have the obvious excess capacity issues of the first round, including the ARC on central Mountain, where there were about 800 empty seats.

Lawfield, which opened in 2007 and offers a French immersion program, is above its 633 capacity and needs four portables to accommodate 720 students in junior kindergarten to Grade 8.

Lisgar opened in 1964 and has 287 students in JK to 8, about 75 per cent of its 380 capacity, while Beasley opened in 1968 and has 180 students in JK to 5, about 70 per cent of its 256 capacity.

Central Mountain trustee Dawn Danko, who represents Lawfield, said unlike the first round of reviews, some schools may want an ARC as a way to relieve overcrowding, including by potentially redrawing boundaries.

Complicating Lawfield’s enrolment, she said, is the French immersion program, which draws students from a broader area.

Danko said she believes trustees have some work to do before the next studies, including the ARC audit and policy review, the latter of which could be affected by proposed new guidelines from the province.

“I would expect with the seven new trustees that the strategic direction might change a little bit,” she said. “All those things have to happen first before we can responsibly jump into another set of ARCs.”