Hamilton board to use MLS-style listing to rent excess school space

News Jun 12, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is launching an MLS-style listing of available school spaces for lease this fall as part of a move to ease restrictions on those qualifying for community partnerships.

Board chair Todd White said the website listing will be the first of its kind in Ontario and include an interactive map identifying underused schools, their age, physical features and lease opportunities.

To expand the list of eligible schools, trustees are also planning to scrap a requirement they have 200 or more empty seats or an enrolment of 60 per cent or less of capacity.

The existing restrictions are based on Ministry of Education guidelines and White said trustees want to push the envelope to open up more schools to community partnerships to save them from closure.

He said he expects the initial listing to identify about 16 schools. Partners can include public agencies, not-for-profit groups and private businesses that are consistent with the board’s mission and values.

“Just like if you were buying a new house, you can go see the square footage, the number of rooms, the year of the build and whatever opportunities are available,” White said.

“There is no other school board that is using this model, so we’re going to experiment with this model and the ministry will be looking at it and measuring any success that it may have.”

Trustees are giving the public until mid-October to comment on the removal of the existing lease restrictions as part of consultation on a new policy on the pupil accommodation reviews used to close underused elementary schools.

Based on new ministry guidelines, key changes will require staff to meet with the city and other interested parties before starting any review.

An initial staff report must now contain one or more closure options, including a recommended one, and detail their cost and impacts on student accommodation, programs, transportation and school buildings, and how the board will pay for them.

Trustees are going beyond ministry guidelines by adding teacher and community members to the review’s advisory committee, which must have parent representatives from affected schools.

Once the review is initiated, the process to a final decision will stretch out over a minimum of 100 business days, or about five months.

This includes a minimum of two public meetings at the review committee stage and a meeting to allow the public to present views directly to trustees.

White said he likes the new policy because it empowers the advisory committees to lead their process and makes it clear trustees are in charge of final decisions.

He said trustees decided consult on both policies at once because they are interconnected and hope to approve the final versions in December.

Trustees earlier this year put a freeze on three reviews, including ones in lower Stoney Creek and the Lawfield area on Hamilton Mountain, until after the new policy is in place.

Hamilton board to use MLS-style listing to rent excess school space

System to be first of its kind in Ontario

News Jun 12, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is launching an MLS-style listing of available school spaces for lease this fall as part of a move to ease restrictions on those qualifying for community partnerships.

Board chair Todd White said the website listing will be the first of its kind in Ontario and include an interactive map identifying underused schools, their age, physical features and lease opportunities.

To expand the list of eligible schools, trustees are also planning to scrap a requirement they have 200 or more empty seats or an enrolment of 60 per cent or less of capacity.

The existing restrictions are based on Ministry of Education guidelines and White said trustees want to push the envelope to open up more schools to community partnerships to save them from closure.

“Just like if you were buying a new house, you can go see the square footage, the number of rooms, the year of the build and whatever opportunities are available."

He said he expects the initial listing to identify about 16 schools. Partners can include public agencies, not-for-profit groups and private businesses that are consistent with the board’s mission and values.

“Just like if you were buying a new house, you can go see the square footage, the number of rooms, the year of the build and whatever opportunities are available,” White said.

“There is no other school board that is using this model, so we’re going to experiment with this model and the ministry will be looking at it and measuring any success that it may have.”

Trustees are giving the public until mid-October to comment on the removal of the existing lease restrictions as part of consultation on a new policy on the pupil accommodation reviews used to close underused elementary schools.

Based on new ministry guidelines, key changes will require staff to meet with the city and other interested parties before starting any review.

An initial staff report must now contain one or more closure options, including a recommended one, and detail their cost and impacts on student accommodation, programs, transportation and school buildings, and how the board will pay for them.

Trustees are going beyond ministry guidelines by adding teacher and community members to the review’s advisory committee, which must have parent representatives from affected schools.

Once the review is initiated, the process to a final decision will stretch out over a minimum of 100 business days, or about five months.

This includes a minimum of two public meetings at the review committee stage and a meeting to allow the public to present views directly to trustees.

White said he likes the new policy because it empowers the advisory committees to lead their process and makes it clear trustees are in charge of final decisions.

He said trustees decided consult on both policies at once because they are interconnected and hope to approve the final versions in December.

Trustees earlier this year put a freeze on three reviews, including ones in lower Stoney Creek and the Lawfield area on Hamilton Mountain, until after the new policy is in place.

Hamilton board to use MLS-style listing to rent excess school space

System to be first of its kind in Ontario

News Jun 12, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is launching an MLS-style listing of available school spaces for lease this fall as part of a move to ease restrictions on those qualifying for community partnerships.

Board chair Todd White said the website listing will be the first of its kind in Ontario and include an interactive map identifying underused schools, their age, physical features and lease opportunities.

To expand the list of eligible schools, trustees are also planning to scrap a requirement they have 200 or more empty seats or an enrolment of 60 per cent or less of capacity.

The existing restrictions are based on Ministry of Education guidelines and White said trustees want to push the envelope to open up more schools to community partnerships to save them from closure.

“Just like if you were buying a new house, you can go see the square footage, the number of rooms, the year of the build and whatever opportunities are available."

He said he expects the initial listing to identify about 16 schools. Partners can include public agencies, not-for-profit groups and private businesses that are consistent with the board’s mission and values.

“Just like if you were buying a new house, you can go see the square footage, the number of rooms, the year of the build and whatever opportunities are available,” White said.

“There is no other school board that is using this model, so we’re going to experiment with this model and the ministry will be looking at it and measuring any success that it may have.”

Trustees are giving the public until mid-October to comment on the removal of the existing lease restrictions as part of consultation on a new policy on the pupil accommodation reviews used to close underused elementary schools.

Based on new ministry guidelines, key changes will require staff to meet with the city and other interested parties before starting any review.

An initial staff report must now contain one or more closure options, including a recommended one, and detail their cost and impacts on student accommodation, programs, transportation and school buildings, and how the board will pay for them.

Trustees are going beyond ministry guidelines by adding teacher and community members to the review’s advisory committee, which must have parent representatives from affected schools.

Once the review is initiated, the process to a final decision will stretch out over a minimum of 100 business days, or about five months.

This includes a minimum of two public meetings at the review committee stage and a meeting to allow the public to present views directly to trustees.

White said he likes the new policy because it empowers the advisory committees to lead their process and makes it clear trustees are in charge of final decisions.

He said trustees decided consult on both policies at once because they are interconnected and hope to approve the final versions in December.

Trustees earlier this year put a freeze on three reviews, including ones in lower Stoney Creek and the Lawfield area on Hamilton Mountain, until after the new policy is in place.