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Date - School Enrolment/School Capacity Minutes
School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee
October 20, 2008

A meeting of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee was held in the Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Monday, October 20, 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:
Richard Holmes, Supervising Principal
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

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

Presentation of Results re: Accommodation Survey of Other Boards

        Manager Toms stated that Trustees had asked that other boards be polled to see how their Accommodation Review Committees are progressing.  

        Manager Toms indicated that information was obtained from: Upper Grand, Dufferin Peel Catholic, St. Clair Catholic, Niagara, Durham Catholic, Hastings-Prince Edward, Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic, Near North, Grand Erie District School Boards.  As well, information from the Limestone District School Board was also included.

        Manager Toms reported that the average number of schools in the Accommodation Review Committees (ARC) from the boards listed above was 5.6, with the maximum number of schools involved in one ARC being 11.  He also reported that the average number of members in an ARC was 24.7, with the maximum number of members being 45.  Manager Toms advised that four boards had Trustees on their ARC, and six boards did not.

        Manager Toms reported that the Upper Grand District School Board had completed an ARC in 2007-2008, which resulted in PTR funding to consolidate three schools into one site.  They currently have a French Immersion ARC in place for this year.

        Manager Toms reported that Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board had completed three ARC processes in areas of the board (Dixie Shorefront, Bramalea North and Central Erin Mills).  He stated that all ARC reports are before the board for consideration at this time.

        Manager Toms reported that in St. Clair Catholic DSB, a review of four elementary schools in Sarnia had been completed, which resulted in two new schools to be built.

        Manager Toms advised that in the District School Board of Niagara, a school family review (elementary and secondary) for Niagara on the Lake was conducted.  He said that the ARC recommended that Niagara District Secondary School be rebuilt.  However, administration recommended the consolidation of five elementary schools to three elementary schools, and closure of Niagara District Secondary School.  He indicated that a process is now under administrative review.

        Manager Toms stated that in Durham Catholic DSB, 11 schools are under review.  He said that the ARC recommended six schools, but did not choose the six.  He said that the Board closed five of the 11 schools.

        Manager Toms stated that in Hastings-Prince Edward DSB, two ARCs are underway, with seven schools in one area being under review, and three in the other area.  He said that both ARCs are progressing through the process.

        Manager Toms commented that in Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, an ARC was created for Quinte West (four schools) in December 2007.  He said that the final public meeting was held October 8, and the final report to the Director is due at the end of October.

        Manager Toms stated that in Near North DSB, three ARCs were completed in 2007-2008.  He advised that the board chose to make no changes based on ARC reports for this school year.  He said that the Board will continue to monitor those areas.  He advised that four ARCs will be in progress for the 2008-2009 school year.

        Manager Toms reported that in Grand Erie DSB, two ARCs have been completed that recommended school closure and consolidation (three schools into two in both cases).  He said that a third ARC is to begin later this month, with five schools under review.

        In response to comments, Manager Toms stated that it is still too early to say what is working and what is not working.  A lot depends on how the ARCs are dealt with in a community and the consolidation process that happened in those communities.

        Director Hunter stated that in speaking with Directors from across the Province, most of their ARCs have done similar things to what we have done; they have dealt with a group of PTR schools where they hoped to get New Pupil Places funding, which could provide an opportunity for some new schools being constructed.

        Trustee Murray requested that information be forwarded with regard to the Near North District School Board.  The Director stated that this would be posted in the Trustees’ Area on First class.

        In response to comments, Manager Toms stated that in moving forward the LDSB will be projecting the enrolment figures that include full-time kindergarten.

        Trustee Jackson requested a copy of the information that Mr. Toms presented.

School Accommodation Report– 2008-2009 School Year dated October 20, 2008

        Director Hunter stated that as a result of the last meeting, staff reviewed the ongoing accommodation reviews around the Province and attempted to respond to Trustee concerns started at the previous SE/SCC meeting.  She said that in the report being presented this evening, there are alternate options for two PARCs (North Kingston and Kingston West/Loyalist Township).  The Director stated that in recognition to the concern for the previously recommended PARCs being unmanageably large, she has taken secondary schools out of the mix for now.  She said that Module de l’Acadie is not included in the Kingston West report so that it can be discussed when Module Vanier is discussed.

        Director Hunter stated that there would likely be a requirement for an exchange of information with schools not included in this PARC.

        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 December.  The Sharbot Lake PARC has been formed and will begin preliminary meetings in November.  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 at a School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee meeting held on September 30, 2008, she presented a report outlining the potential creation of two PARCs to address accommodation issues in the Central City of Kingston and the former Kingston Township and Loyalist Township areas.  At that meeting, Trustees expressed concerns regarding the size of the proposed PARCs and the ability for staff to effectively support such large groups.

        The Director stated that taking into account Trustee concerns regarding limiting the size of PARCs to maintain operational manageability and to enable discussion and input from all members within the PARC support team, she is now presenting an alternate option for Trustees to consider as the next step in the Accommodation Review Process.  The specific areas to be addressed are:

Kingston North:                 J.G. Simcoe PS, Rideau Heights PS, Frontenac PS, First Avenue PS and Central PS


Kingston West/Loyalist Township:        J.R. Henderson PS, Collins Bay PS, W.J. Holsgrove PS, Welborne Avenue PS, Fairfield ES, Amherstview PS, R.G.~Sinclair PS, Bayridge PS, Lancaster Drive PS, Cataraqui Woods PS and Truedell PS

        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.  All enrolment projections are presented as student head count, under the assumption that full-day learning for kindergarten aged students will occur at some time in the projection window.

        The Director provided information about Kingston West and Loyalist Township Elementary Schools, noting that when evaluating schools with respect to Policy 15, the recommendation to review the schools in this area has been based on items (ii), (iii) and (viii) as listed above.

        Director Hunter reported that in the Loyalist Township 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.

        The Director reported that in the former Kingston Township area (Kingston West), 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.

        The Director presented information regarding Kingston North, noting
 that when evaluating schools with respect to Policy 15, the recommendation to review the schools in the Kingston North Area has been based on items (ii), (iii), (iv), (vi), and (viii) as listed above.

        Director Hunter reported that schools to be included in this review are the elementary ‘feeder’ schools in the Queen Elizabeth Collegiate and Vocational Institute (QECVI) family (First Avenue PS, Frontenac PS, J.G. Simcoe PS, Rideau Heights PS), along with Central PS from the Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute (KCVI).

        Director Hunter said that in this area, declines in school age population within the City of Kingston have created significant enrolment declines.  The schools in this area of the city have been most dramatically impacted, where the schools are a combined 69% of capacity and are projected to remain at a constant of 70-75% of capacity for the remainder of the current projections.   

        In response to comments by Trustee Jackson, the Director stated that she had not changed her mind about the recommendations brought forward in the September 30, 2008 report.  She said that the new report was in response to Trustee concerns that the recommended PARCs in the September 30, 2008 report were too big.  She said that the recommendations in the September 30, 2008 report would have 15 to 17 schools under review.  She said that she realized that it was difficult for Trustees to make a decision without being able to compare those recommendations to other options.  She commented that the recommendations in the report presented this evening are for Trustee consideration.  She said that the recommendations in the report dated October 20, 2008 are alternate suggestions, that are smaller and thus more manageable.

        Trustee Murray stated that she does not believe that one family of schools should be excluded, as decisions made about one area overlap other areas.

        In response to a question from Trustee Crawford regarding the J.R. Henderson Public School Enrolment Pressures Ad Hoc Committee, Director Hunter stated that committee will be ending its work in the near future.  She said that the J.R. Henderson Public School Pressures Ad Hoc Committee had an ending date.

        Trustee Chadwick stated that she is excited about a review being done in Kingston North schools.  She said that there are three PTR schools on the list of schools to be reviewed.  She said that there are physical barriers in these PTR schools.  Trustee Chadwick stated that she is excited because there could be New Pupil Places funding available to help to deal with the issues in Kingston North.

        Trustee Chadwick stated that she understands the overlapping concerns.  She said that once the committee begins to go through the process, it will request information so that their concerns can be addressed.  She said that if there was a super PARC, then the size of the committee would be unmanageable, that effective consultation could not occur, as she and other Trustees had indicated at the previous SE/SCC meeting.

        Trustee Murray stated that she had attended a recent School Council meeting at KCVI, and that community would welcome the same opportunity to have the schools in the KCVI area reviewed.  She said that programs offered at LCVI affects QECVI, and that KCVI has programs that affect QECVI.

        The Chair indicated that no secondary schools were included in the alternate recommendations.

        In response to comments by Trustee Jackson, the Director stated that the alternate smaller PARC approach is simply another way in which to start the next phase of the task.  She said that as one PARC ends its work, a next phase can be initiated.  She said that each time we delay establishing a PARC, the process is extended.  She said, however, there is no urgency, this evening, to establish PARCs.

        Trustee Jackson stated that he had attended the School Council meeting at KCVI last Tuesday as an observer.  He said that the KCVI family of schools was frustrated about the long term future of the school and the Board’s ability to maintain that particular property.  He said that a central approach may be better.

        Trustee Brown stated that at the last meeting, she was concerned about the size of the proposed PARCs.  She said that she could see the possibilities of doing what is best for students in all of the areas within the large PARC, because one specific area was not targeted, but that she still finds it difficult to see how a super PARC could be managed in that large of an area.  Trustee Brown stated that she sees merit in what was presented this evening.  She commented on schools from Loyalist Township being part of the review of Kingston West, and indicated that it is good we are targeting PTR schools.

        Trustee French stated that it was helpful to see a focus on PTR schools, noting that is the best opportunity for the Board to access funds for PTR.  She said that she would like to see a map as it helps to picture how this group fits in.  She said that if the number of schools in each PARC is pared down, we have to consider what the next step would be with regard to secondary schools, the other elementary schools, and the French component.  We need to consider how to plot that out.  She said that we still have the areas of northern Loyalist Township and Stone Mills to review.

        The Director stated that if we went to Plan 2, once the recommendations were made about establishing a PARC for Kingston North and for Kingston West/Loyalist, we could look at them.

        Trustee Beavis stated that it is important to remember that the Board includes all areas within its jurisdiction, and we need to forget about the boundaries of areas.  He commented that there are citizens in the area who are still fighting the City of Kingston amalgamation and who are upset because amalgamation took place.  He stated that he appreciates the work staff has done.    

        Trustee Brown commented that the Limestone District School Board amalgamation was a very smooth transition, and she had considered the Board as one board since 1997.

        Trustee Murray stated that if the approach is district programs and that is the approach the Board takes, then she cannot support removing secondary schools from the process.

        Director Hunter stated that when she talks about district programs, she is talking about Choices, LEAP and Challenge Programs.  She commented that students from outside their home school areas attend these programs.  She said that there is no recommendation for a specific PARC to consider district programs in isolation, as they are offered to everybody.

        Trustee Chadwick stated that at the last meeting, she believed super PARCs were not feasible. She said that if three families of schools were reviewed, she could see the committee breaking down to four groups – secondary schools and three elementary schools, and there would be four subcommittees running.  She said that she is currently involved in a PARC and she knows the amount of work involved with a PARC, when two elementary schools are under review.  She said that she does not believe a super PARC could be managed, and if one was managed, then the Board would be looking at the process taking one and one-half or two years before it was completed.  Trustee Chadwick also commented on a possible provincial election wherein a change of government could take place, and not knowing if a new government would be supportive of New Pupil Places funding.  She said that she believes we should look at an area where we might get some funding.

        In response to comments, the Director stated that she could provide a proposed sequence of events for the formation of further PARCs.  She commented that if we do not create PARCs to address PTR schools in a timely fashion, when the government announces the second phase of funding for New Pupil Places, then we might lose out on any funding that might be provided to our Board.

        MOVED BY Trustee Chadwick, seconded by Trustee Brown, the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee recommends to the Board, that a Program and Accommodation Review Committee be established for the Kingston North Area to begin meeting in March 2009.

        Trustee Jackson requested a recorded vote, which was as follows:

        YEAS:   Trustee Beavis, Trustee Brown, Trustee Chadwick, Trustee Crawford, Trustee French, Trustee Goodfellow (6)

        NAYS:   Trustee Jackson, Trustee Murray (2)

        The motion was called and Carried (6:2).

        MOVED BY Trustee French, seconded by Trustee Beavis, the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee recommends to the Board, that a Program and Accommodation Review Committee be established for the Kingston West/Loyalist Township elementary schools to begin meeting in September 2009.

        Trustee Jackson requested a recorded vote, which was as follows:

        YEAS:   Trustee Beavis, Trustee Brown, Trustee Chadwick,, Trustee French, Trustee Goodfellow, Trustee Murray (6)

        NAYS:   Trustee Crawford, Trustee Jackson (2)

        The motion was called and Carried (6:2).
        Trustee Crawford advised that she voted against the motion because she believed the PARC would be too large.

        Director Hunter stated that she would provide Trustees with options for their consideration that would group the remaining schools and sequence them.
 Date of Next Meeting

        The date of the next meeting is to be determined.


        MOVED BY Trustee Beavis, seconded by Trustee Crawford, that the meeting adjourn at 7:25~p.m.–Carried