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September 30, 2008 - School Enrolment/School Capacity Minutes
School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee
September 30, 2008

A meeting of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee was held in the Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, on Tuesday, September 30, 2008, at 6:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
A. Goodfellow, Chair
G. Beavis
H. Brown
H. Chadwick, Vice-Chair
E. Crawford
L. French
D. Jackson
P. Murray
Present Staff:
Brenda Hunter, Director of Education
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Roger Richard, Superintendent of Business Services
Kerry Stewart, Accommodation Review Facilitator
Wayne Toms, Manager, ITS        
        Chair Goodfellow called the meeting to order, advising that regrets were received from Trustee McLaren.

Approval of Agenda

        Chair Goodfellow advised that an additional item regarding the election of a Chair for the PARC (Sharbot Lake) is to be added to the agenda.  

        Trustee French indicated that she would bring information regarding the OPSBA Board of Directors’ meeting forward under Other Business.

        MOVED BY Trustee Crawford, that the agenda, as amended, be approved.–Carried

School Accommodation Report – 2008-2009 School Year

        The Director presented Trustees with options for their consideration for the formation of the next two Program and Accommodation Review Committees.  She said that as she goes through the report in sequence, Trustees will note that the Board’s first two PARCs – Kingston East, and Greater Napanee are well in progress, and the plans for the first meeting of the Sharbot Lake family of schools PARC are in the works.  Director Hunter said that as we all have known, accommodation issues stemming from declining enrolments, shifting enrolment, and aging buildings, affect all areas of our jurisdiction, now and into the future, and therefore, we must proceed to review the accommodation issues in other areas of our Board.
        The Director commented that the recommendations laid out in the report regarding the next series of PARCs, were not easily made, noting that the challenge that arose, over and over again, when planning staff and the senior team deliberated how to best organize the next group of schools to be examined, was that there are multiple points of crossovers across our urban and suburban and even rural schools that make logical and feasible subdivisions of many of the remaining schools for review quite difficult, even somewhat arbitrary.  The Director commented, for example, that there are several district programs that serve students outside of their regular geographic school catchment area.  Students from both Kingston West and East attend the grade 7 and 8 Challenge Program at Calvin Park, and students from across the entire district attend the LEAP Program at the same site.  As well, French Immersion students have vastly larger catchment areas than the neighborhood English school catchment areas.  And to make it even more complicated, many of the elementary programs, including Intermediate French Immersion, LEAP, Challenge and Calvin Park English Intermediate school are housed inside secondary school buildings.  The Director stated that the issues of future school capacity amongst English, French and elementary and secondary schools are closely intertwined with programming decisions.

        The Director said that the notion of considering all of the schools in one giant PARC seemed operationally to be simply not feasible; staff did not believe that they could manage the data collection process for all of these schools at once, and they also did not feel that they could ensure a comprehensive and reasonable consultation process for all stakeholders.

        The Director remarked that as the currently presented recommendations stand, there would likely be around 70 members of each PARC, plus others from other schools where a specific issue is being studied.

        The Director advised that Senior Staff did consider smaller groupings of schools, but to break down the PARCs into smaller groupings ahead of time risked the perception that Senior Staff were predisposing the outcomes.

        The Director indicated that the matter is complex, and whatever configuration Trustees decide upon, staff is committed to ensuring a fair and consultative process, and that, as usual, Senior Staff are always completely open to opinions and ultimately of course, the Board’s direction.

        The Director walked Trustees through the report, line by line.  She said that if there are any questions for clarity, please let her know as we go through the report, and either she, Superintendent Richard, Manager Toms or Kerry Stewart will do their best to respond.

        Director Hunter provided information regarding the process of developing Program and Accommodation Review plans for the 2008-2009 school year and beyond.  She reported that during the 2007-2008 school year, Limestone District School Board began the process of Accommodation Review.  The Board initiated three Program and Accommodation Review Committees (PARC) during this time.  These were to address mostly Prohibitive to Repair (PTR) issues in Kingston East (the former Pittsburgh Township), Greater Napanee and Sharbot Lake.

        Director Hunter commented that the Kingston East and Greater Napanee PARCs have been ongoing since the spring of 2008, and are expected to present their final reports to the Director this fall.  The Sharbot Lake PARC has been formed and will begin preliminary meetings in October.  The first public meeting of the Sharbot Lake PARC will be established once the committee meets.

        The Director advised that Policy 15 (School Accommodation) refers to specific conditions for the need to review a school or group of schools, as follows:

“The Director will present a preliminary report to the Board identifying a school or group of schools in which challenges may be faced in providing a suitable and equitable range of learning opportunities for students, and in respect of which there may be a need to consider the possible consolidation, closure or program relocation in respect of one or more schools.

A school or group of schools may be considered for study if one or more of the following conditions apply:

(i)     The school or groups of schools is unable to provide a suitable and equitable range of learning opportunities for students;
(ii)    The school or group of schools has experienced or will experience an adverse impact on learning opportunities for students due to declining enrolment;
(iii)   Reorganization involving the school or group of schools could enhance program and learning opportunities for students;
(iv)    Teaching/learning spaces are not suitable to provide the programs needed to serve the community and retrofitting may be cost prohibitive;
(v)     Under normal staffing allocation practices, it would be necessary to assign multiple (more than two) grades to one class in one or more of the schools;
(vi)    One or more of the schools is experiencing higher building maintenance expenses than the average for the system and/or is in need of major capital improvements;
(vii)   In respect of one or more of the schools there are safety and/or environmental concerns attached to the building, the school site or its locality;
(viii)  The consolidation of schools is in the best interests of the overall school system;
(ix)    It has been no less than five years since the inception of a study of the school by a Program and Accommodation Review Committee, except where extenuating circumstances warrant, such as an unexpected economic or demographic shift, or a change in a school’s physical condition.

        Director Hunter stated that in the Director of Education’s Accommodation Report of January 2008, a commitment was made to provide additional accommodation reports related to the remaining areas of the Board over the next few years, as additional funding information becomes available.

        Director Hunter remarked that Dr. Charles Pascal is currently reviewing the government’s plans to address full day learning for kindergarten-aged students, noting that his final report is due to the Minister of Education in November/December 2008.  A policy announcement from the government is not expected prior to the spring of 2009.  The Director said that whatever the decision, it is likely to have significant impact on all future accommodation decisions.

        Director Hunter stated that Senior Staff have looked at many scenarios to address accommodation challenges in both the former City of Kingston and the former Kingston Township areas.  The Director advised that the specific areas suggested to be addressed are:

Kingston West/Loyalist: Frontenac Secondary School, Bayridge Secondary School and Ernestown Secondary School families of schools; and

Central Kingston: QECVI, KCVI, and LCVI families of schools.

        Director Hunter advised that the Board currently has an outstanding commitment to the local French public school board (Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario) of 73 pupil places.  This commitment arises from the negotiations that took place during the amalgamation process in 1998.

        Director Hunter advised that projected data within the report was prepared by LDSB Planning Staff in February 2008.  The projections are based upon data for births, migration and participation provided by Baragar Systems in January 2008, and actual enrolment data from October 31, 2007.  Where current enrolment data is presented, it is based upon October 31, 2007 actual data.  As well, Planning Staff have completed a verification process of these projections, and are satisfied that they provide realistic and confirmed trend data.  Inputs to the review included data from the Ministry of Finance, City of Kingston and the 2006 Census data.  Where elementary enrolment data is presented, it is reported in Full Time Equivalent (FTE) and continues to assume the status quo of half time for Junior an Senior Kindergarten students.  Where secondary school enrolment data is presented, it is reported in total student head count, as opposed to FTE.

        Director Hunter stated that when evaluating schools with respect to Policy 15, the recommendation to review the schools in the Ernestown, Frontenac and Bayridge families of schools has been based on items (ii), (iii) and (viii) as listed above.
        Director Hunter reported the following observations for the Kingston Township and Loyalist Township Areas:

1.      In this area, significant declines in enrolment in the Amherstview area have created excess capacity in both Fairfield Elementary School and Amherstview Public School at the elementary school level, as well as Ernestown Secondary School at the secondary level.

2.      Amherst Island Public School, Bath Public School, Odessa Public School, and Yarker Family School are excluded from the report due to the fact that either they are at or near current capacity (Odessa), or because of their remoteness from other schools in the area (Amherst Island, Bath and Yarker).

3.      In the Frontenac and Bayridge families, current school boundaries have created schools at or exceeding capacity, while others have excess capacity.  Transportation currently sees buses travelling past schools with excess capacity, to deliver students to schools that are at or near capacity.  Overall, both families of schools remain at a constant 90-95% of capacity throughout the planning and projection window through 2022.
4.      French Immersion is available at Amherstview PS (K-8) in the Ernestown SS family and James R. Henderson (K-6) and Module de l’Acadie (7-8) in the Frontenac family of schools.  Board wide, enrolment in French Immersion programs is down 39.0 FTE from the projection of 1443 students as of September 4, 2008.  However, enrolment in the Kingston West/Amherstview study area has met the projection of 568 FTE students (actual enrolment is 569 FTE).  The enrolment projections for French Immersion over the next 10-15 years grow slightly in the Kingston West and Amherstview attendance areas.

5.      At the secondary school level, Ernestown SS has a permanent capacity of 675 students, with current enrolment at 648 students, and declining to 478 students over the next 15 years.

6.      Bayridge SS has a current permanent capacity of 687 students, with enrolment at 794 but declining to 563 students over the next 15 years.  An addition is currently being constructed that will add four additional classrooms and additional learning spaces providing approximately 126 new pupil places, for a new permanent capacity of 813 students.

7.      Frontenac SS has a new permanent capacity of 1029 students as a result of recent renovations and additions, with current enrolment at 1,116 but declining to below 1,000 over the next few years, then rebounding to 1,179 by the end of the 15 year projection.

        The Director stated that when evaluating schools with respect to Policy 15, the recommendation to review the schools in the KCVI, LCVI and QECVI families of schools has been based on items (ii), (iii), (iv), (vi), and (viii) as listed above.

        Director Hunter said that in this area, significant declines in school age population within the City of Kingston have created significant enrolment declines.  The schools in the QECVI family have been most dramatically impacted, where the schools are a combined 75% of capacity and projected to continue to decline to less than 65% of capacity.  The KCVI and LCVI elementary schools are near 100% capacity and projected to maintain these numbers. 

        The Director reported that French Immersion is available at Rideau PS (K-6) and Module Vanier (7-8) in the KCVI family and Polson Park PS (K-6) in the LCVI family of schools.  Board wide, enrolment in French Immersion programs is down 39.0 FTE from the projection of 1443 students as of September 4, 2008.  In the Central City of Kingston area, French Immersion enrolment is down 52 FTE on enrolment of 561 FTE (almost 10%).  The enrolment projections for French Immersion over the next 10-15 years show enrolment declining in the short term, then growing in central City of Kingston.  However, with the significant decline in this year’s actual data, revised projections in th new year will likely see this increase diminish.

        The Director reported, as follows:

1.      KCVI has a capacity of 894 students, with current enrolment at just over 1020 students, and project to decline to 884 students over the next 15 years.

2.      LCVI has a current capacity of 1059 students, with enrolment at 944 but declining to 881 students over the next 15 years.  Educational Services currently occupies a portion of the basement at LCVI., and this area has been included in the capacity figures.

3.      QECVI has a capacity of 972 students with current enrolment at 880 and declining to 699 over the 15 year projection.

        The Director stated that she recognizes  the enormous challenge and complexity of this issue for Trustees, thanking them for their hard work on behalf of the students of the LDSB, both in the present and in the future.  She said that our work in this area will affect our schools and community and education for generations to come.

        MOVED BY Trustee French, the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee recommends to the Board:

1.      That a Program and Accommodation Review Committee be established for the Kingston West/Loyalist area to begin meeting in March 2009.

2.      That a Program and Accommodation Review Committee be established for the central City of Kingston area to begin meeting in September 2009.

        Trustee Murray referred to page 8, KCVI family of schools, and noted that École de l’Acadie is listed.  Manager Toms confirmed that École de l’Acadie should be removed, and Module Vanier substituted in lieu thereof, noting that the related information listed was otherwise accurate.
        Trustees commented on the magnitude of the proposed PARCs, indicating that it is overwhelming and appears to be impossible to manage.  They said that they were not sure how to divide the schools as there are some programming needs, such as District Programs and French Immersion, that need to be solved first.

        Trustee Murray stated that she would not support a PARC that separated district programming from community schools.

        The Director commented that Senior Staff wrestled with the different scenarios significantly.  She said that they did talk about addressing District Programs, which would include French Immersion, separately.  She also commented on the issue of the French Immersion, Challenge and LEAP programs being made more reasonably accessible to students in northern schools.  She said that every decision Trustees will make, will impact significantly on other decisions.

        The Director commented that a super PARC could possibly move into segments in order to review the District Programs.

        Trustees indicated their concern about the unmanageability of such large PARCs as related to operational feasibility, staff and Trustee workload, as well as the challenge of ensuring that an appropriate level of discussion, collaboration and input could ensue.
        Trustees asked the Director how she envisioned such large PARCs would work.  In response, the Director provided a scenario regarding the former Kingston Township area being reviewed, noting that she would envision a presentation being provided to provide the whole Committee with an overview of the long-term issues, and allowing time to identify the issues.  As an explanation, she commented on the overcrowding situation at James R. Henderson Public School, and PTR schools.  She said some other issues include boundaries around French Immersion, and access to District Programs.  She noted that then some priorities would emerge.  She said that perhaps then there would be small groups that would report back to the larger PARC.

        Mrs. Stewart stated that we cannot have what is perceived as effective discussions with groups of 70 people.  We could find ways to break the larger PARC into small working groups.  She said that the larger PARC would be provided with actual information, and then the smaller groups would have to reflect on the information provided.  She said that major issues may be identified with the large area of the PARC and then regrouping to bring back comments, observations and recommendations to the large group.  She said that she is cognizant of the importance in having all participants provided with an opportunity to consult and talk with each other.

        Manager Toms provided information on the PARCs at the Durham Catholic District School Board.  He said that he would make that information available to Trustees.

        In response to comments, the Director stated that she would provide Trustees with information on some of the other options Senior Staff had discussed previously.  She said that Trustees need to ask questions to see where the issues are and how they impact on other areas.

        Trustee Brown commented on the process being followed in the other smaller PARCs, noting that it is very good.  She said that the PARC that she is involved in is thinking about what is best for students.

        Trustees asked that another information session with background documents being provided be held.

        Trustee French withdrew her motion to appoint a PARC for the Kingston West/Loyalist area, and for the Central area of the City of Kingston.

        The Director stated that if Trustees have any additional thoughts or suggestions on how to organize the PARCs to please e-mail them to her.

        In response to a comment, Superintendent Richard stated that he has heard that the Ministry is providing funding in the amount of $500 million for Phase 2 that will broaden the issues to which boards can respond, in terms of applying for funding.

        A decision was made that a future School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee meeting would be held with more information being provided.

Timelines for Kingston East and Greater Napanee PARCs to Submit PARC Reports to the Director of Education

        Superintendent Richard advised of the need to extend the timelines for the PARC (Kingston East) and PARC (Greater Napanee) to submit their final reports to the Director of Education.

        Superintendent Richard indicated that the Board approved the creation of the Kingston East PARC and Greater Napanee PARC in January 2008.  He reported that PARC meetings began in March 2008, and there have been numerous working committee meetings and each PARC has held two public meetings to date.  Superintendent Richard stated that the first public meetings of the PARCs were held on May 27, 2008 (Greater Napanee) and May 29, 2008 (Kingston East).

        Superintendent Richard noted that the timelines outlined in Policy 15 (School Accommodation) require that the PARC deliver its final report to the Director of Education not earlier than 90 days after the beginning and not later than 95 days after the beginning of the PARC’s first public meeting.  He noted, therefore, as per current Board policy, the final report of the Greater Napanee PARC would be due to the Director of Education not later than October 31, 2008, and the final report of the Kingston East PARC would be due no late than November 3, 2008.  He said that it is clear at this point in time that neither of the PARCs in question will be able to meet the mandated timelines for submission of their final reports to the Director of Education.  As such, each PARC would require an extension to the current timelines in order to provide it with sufficient time to complete the public consultation process and finalize and submit its report.

        Superintendent Richard said that Board staff and the PARCs believe that extending the timeline for the submission of the PARCs’ final reports to December 15, 2008 should allow for ample time to complete the public consultation process and complete and submit the final reports to the Director of Education.

        Superintendent Richard stated that both PARCs have been following the accommodation review process as outlined in Board Policy 15 (School Accommodation).  Each PARC has held two public meetings to date, and each PARC has proceeded slowly so as to ensure that the members of the PARC and the communities involved are comfortable with the process and are getting all of the information they require in order to make informed decisions.

        Superintendent Richard reported that the timelines set out in Policy 15 were developed using the best judgment of all of the parties, who participated in the creation of the policy.  It should be noted that the two PARCs in question are the first two PARCs to operate under the Board’s new accommodation review policy.  The PARC reviews have been a learning process for all concerned and the process has simply taken longer than was originally anticipated.

        MOVED BY Trustee French, the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee recommends to the Board, that the Board approve waiving the current timelines outlined in Policy 15 (School Accommodation), and that the deadline for the Kingston East PARC and the Greater Napanee PARC to submit their final PARC reports to the Director of Education, be extended to December 15, 2008.–Carried

Election of Chair for PARC (Sharbot Lake)

        Trustee Brown suggested that Trustee McLaren be elected Chair of the PARC (Sharbot Lake).  However, as Trustee McLaren was not present to accept the nomination, this matter was deferred to the October 8, 2008 Board meeting.

Other Business

        Trustee French indicated that she had posted in the Trustees First Class area,  the following information that came out of the OPSBA Board of Directors’ meeting:

1.      A copy of a letter from the Toronto District School Board, regarding its “Don’t Tax Our Schools, GST” Campaign.  They had a proposed motion to ban federal candidates from their schools without support for their effort; however, this did not pass.  They continue to pursue the issue in the hopes that it will become provincially prominent, with eventual support.  The letter contains a link to a website developed by the lobby group, which provides another link to a You Tube video that is a Rick Mercer-style “rant” on the issue.  Trustee French advised that by motion, OPSBA has supported this initiative without any particular action other than to share the message for information.

        In response to a question, Superintendent Richard stated that we get a 68% rebate from the government for the GST that the Board collects.  Trustee Jackson suggested that perhaps the Board should consider a resolution at the Board meeting.

2.      Declining Enrolment Working Group Draft Report – OPSBA is the first of the Trustee Associations to compile a report which will be going forward to the Ministry later in October.  Trustee French stated that the report is very detailed, with several appendices.

3.      OPSBA has developed a new and improved website.  The link for the website is:  Trustee French stated that Trustees could provide feedback on the new website to herself or to OPSBA staff directly.

4.      Trustee French advised that she had brought the issue of environmental sustainability forward at the Board of Directors’ meeting and her motion to have it added to OPSBA’s priority list for 2008/09 was passed.  She said that Director Hunter could be contacted to provide information about our committee’s mandate, and reiterated it was an opportunity for our Board to suggest actions that OPSBA might consider.

Date of Next Meeting

        The date of the next meeting is to be determined.


        MOVED BY Trustee Crawford, seconded by Trustee Beavis, that the meeting adjourn at 7:45~p.m.–Carried