School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee
January 8, 2013
A School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board public meeting to receive input on the recommendations regarding accommodation at Central Public School, First Avenue Public School, Frontenac Public School, J.G. Simcoe Public School and Rideau Heights Public School was held on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at 6:30 p.m., at J.G. Simcoe Public School, 90 Wiley Street, Kingston.
H. Chadwick, Chair
B. Milligan, Student Trustee
Brenda Hunter, Director of Education
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Roger Richard, Superintendent of Business Services
Wayne Toms, Manager,
Ruth Bailey, PARC Facilitator
Krishna Burra, Supervisor of Safe and Caring School and Assistant to the Director
Jane Douglas, Communications Officer
David Fowler, Manager of Facility Services
Barb Fraser-Stiff, Superintendent of Education
Tammy Giles, Supervising Principal
Richard Holmes, Supervising Principal
Brenda Hunter, Director of Education
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording
Andre Labrie, Superintendent of Human Resources
Shawn Lehman, Supervising Principal
Norah Marsh, Superintendent of Education
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal
Superintendent of Business Services
Karen Smith, Communications Officer
Wayne Toms, Manager of ITS and Planning Officer
Chair Chadwick introduced herself and stated that as Chair of the Limestone District School Board, it was her pleasure to welcome those present to this public meeting of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board.
Chair Chadwick advised that the purpose of this meeting is to receive input from the public concerning the report from the Kingston North Program and Accommodation Review Committee, as well as the Senior Staff Report.
Chair Chadwick commented that the nine Trustees of the Limestone District School Board, who are the decision-makers in the accommodation process, are here this evening to hear from the public. Each Trustee stood and identified himself/herself, and the area of the district that he or she represents.
Chair Chadwick advised that present tonight, as well as the Trustees, are the Director of Education, Brenda Hunter, and the other nine members of the LDSB Senior Staff.
Chair Chadwick reported that the role of the Trustees this evening is to listen to the public’s input. She said that Trustees have received the Kingston North PARC Report, including all of the minutes, the Minority Report and the input to the PARC. She stated that as well, Trustees have received the Senior Staff Report and the input received following the publishing of the PARC Report. She reported that as a committee, Trustees have not discussed these materials and certainly have not made any decisions. She said that as individuals, Trustees have been reviewing the reports and informing themselves about the content.
Chair Chadwick advised that the Kingston North PARC Report and the Senior Staff Report have been posted on the Board’s website for some time, indicating that she trusts that members of the public have had an opportunity to read both of them. She said that in their packages tonight, they will find the recommendations from each of the reports.
Chair Chadwick remarked that both of these reports will receive the full consideration of Trustees, along with the input that will be provided tonight. She said that all of the materials and comments will be considered carefully by the nine Trustees in their decision-making.
Chair Chadwick reported that there is new information concerning the Kingston North Elementary Schools’ accommodation that was released yesterday by the Ministry of Education through an announcement by our local MPP Minister John Gerretsen. She said that as some of you may already know, the Ontario Government and the Ministry of Education announced yesterday that they have made available $9 million in capital funding to the Limestone District School Board for a new elementary school to accommodate students served by schools in the Kingston North Program and Accommodation Review area. She indicated that this available funding supports both a key recommendation in the Kingston North Program and Accommodation Review Committee Report and the preferred option, Option 1, of the
Senior Staff Report. She commented that both of these recommendations call for the consolidation and relocation of students from First Avenue and Frontenac Public Schools in a new elementary school on a site to be determined. She said that when Trustees begin their deliberations on program and accommodation issues in Kingston North, they will be able to do so with the knowledge that funding for a new elementary school is available.
Chair Chadwick remarked that the Limestone District School Board is grateful for the Ontario government’s continued commitment to supporting student achievement and well-being through this significant investment in education in the Limestone District School Board.
Chair Chadwick indicated that tonight is the public’s opportunity to speak directly to the Trustees, before they begin their deliberations and decision-making. She asked the public not to be offended when Trustees do not interact with them about their input or questions. She said that Trustees will be listening very attentively to their opinions and ideas. She said that minutes are being taken and the public’s input will be recorded as accurately as possible so that Trustees can refer back to it and review the comments and questions. She said that if, when Trustees examine the two reports and all of the input, including the comments from this evening, they find that they need further clarification, they will consult with the appropriate people.
Chair Chadwick advised that present tonight, as well as the Trustees, is the full Senior Staff of the Limestone District School Board. She said that this includes the Director of Education, Brenda Hunter, and the Superintendent of Business Services, Roger Richard, who are here in their roles as Secretary and Treasurer of the Board, to support the Trustees as needed.
Chair Chadwick reported that following tonight’s meeting Senior Staff will prepare a follow-up report for Trustees. She further reported that this will be presented at a School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee (SE/SCC) of the Whole Board, and like all SE/SCC meetings, it will be open to the public. She stated that following the receipt of the Senior Staff Follow-Up Report, a subsequent SE/SCC meeting or meetings, as many as necessary, will occur for the Trustees to discuss, deliberate and come to a decision. She said that the motion to approve a recommendation from the SC/SCC will be presented at a Board meeting. The date and location of the Board meeting will be advertised at least 60 days in advance.
Chair Chadwick stated that as always, the Board’s Recording Secretary, Darlene Kirkpatrick, will be taking the minutes of the meeting, including each speaker’s comments.
Chair Chadwick reported that in the package that was handed out tonight are the agenda for this meeting, a copy of the protocol for receiving the public’s input tonight, an outline of the presentation on the accommodation review process, and a copy of the recommendations from the Kingston North PARC Report and the Senior Staff Report in case anyone would like to reference a particular recommendation when they make their comments.
Approval of the Agenda
MOVED BY Trustee French, seconded by Trustee Jackson, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.—Carried
Overview of the Kingston North Program and Accommodation Review Process
Superintendent Richard provided an overview of the Kingston North Program and Accommodation Review Process, as follows:
At the November 17, 2008 Board meeting the following motion was approved: “That a Program and Accommodation Review Committee be established for the Kingston North Area to begin in March 2009.”
On May 7, 2009, a meeting of the Kingston North PARC was held to inform the members of the PARC about the decision to delay the start of the review process in Kingston North due to the fact that:
- The Board did not expect to see any capital funding to address the Kingston North area at this time, and
- The Board had yet to receive information relating to the plans for full-day early learning for kindergarten-aged students.
The Board had decided to delay the start of the Kingston North PARC until this information was forthcoming.
The Limestone District School Board, at its regular meeting on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, approved the following motion:
“That a Program and Accommodation Review Committee for Kingston North be re-established and begin meeting in May/June 2011.”
The Board, in arriving at its decision, took into account the following conditions that relate to the schools:
(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;
(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; and
(viii) The consolidation of schools is in the best interests of the overall school system.
Superintendent Richard reviewed the specific mandate for the Kingston North PARC, as follows:
1. In working toward solutions that meet the criteria below, the PARC should consider the overall impact on all students in the review area and the Board. Recommendations put forward should also reflect the legislative requirements and the Board’s commitment to full accessibility for people with disabilities.
2. Develop recommendations to address the following:
a) the enhancement, where possible, of the program and learning opportunities for students;
b) the reduction of building maintenance and operating expenses and the need for major capital improvements;
c) the reduction of excess student capacity at the schools within the review; and
d) the clarification of the boundaries for each school in order to:
i. ensure that all schools will have sufficient capacity to accommodate the Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten program, as well as any future projected enrolments; and
ii. adjust the catchment areas where more than one school is identified for attendance purposes to ensure that each school has only one English and one French Immersion catchment area.
Superintendent Richard advised of the following:
- The Kingston North PARC held 11 public working meetings between June 21, 2011 and April 24, 2012.
- The Kingston North PARC held four public meetings to present information, respond to questions and receive input from the public.
- The Kingston North PARC initially considered 10 potential options for the schools in the review.
- The PARC Report was finalized by the committee at their working meeting on April 24, 2012 and the final report was presented to the Director of Education in May 2012.
- Senior Staff reviewed the PARC Report and made an initial report to the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee on November 22, 2012.
Superintendent Richard reviewed the timelines and the next steps in the PARC process, as outlined in the agenda package. He stated that the Senior Staff Follow-Up Report would be presented to the Board in February 2013.
Rob Hutchison, City of Kingston Councillor
A copy of Mr. Hutchison’s presentation is appended as Appendix A.
Doug Ritchie, Downtown Kingston
Mr. Hutchison read Mr. Ritchie’s letter. A copy of Mr. Ritchie’s letter is appended as Appendix B.
Frederique Offredi, Central Public School Parent
A copy of Ms. Offredi’s presentation is appended as Appendix C.
Astrid Michels, Central Public School Parent
A copy of Ms. Michels’ presentation is appended as Appendix D.
Susan Walker, Teaching Staff Member of the Kingston North PARC, and recently retired
A copy of Ms. Walker’s presentation is appended as Appendix E.
Lindsey Fair, Central Public School Parent
A copy of Ms. Fair’s presentation is appended as Appendix F.
Ian Kilborn, Faculty Member of St. Lawrence College, Interested Citizen in Maintaining a Vital Downtown Area, and Owner of a Small Commercial Building on Joseph Street
A copy of Mr. Kilborn’s presentation is appended as Appendix G.
David Rutenburg, Area Resident
A copy of Mr. Rutenburg’s presentation is appended as Appendix H.
David Kay, Director, Options for Homes
A copy of Mr. Kay’s presentation is appended as Appendix I.
Review of the Protocol
Chair Chadwick drew attention to the Protocol for Receiving Input at Public Meetings page that was included in the agenda package. She asked that the process be followed to ensure that as many speakers as possible have an opportunity to provide input to the committee and that everyone can hear the comments. She said that:
1. Persons wishing to speak should move to the microphone and she would recognize each speaker consecutively.
2. Each speaker shall identify him or herself, the school community in which s/he lives or where his/her children attend school, the group or organization, if any, for which he or she serves as spokesperson.
Jane Douglas, the Board’s Communications Officer, will be near the microphone to ensure that we have your name recorded correctly and to assist you with the sound system, if needed.
3. There will be a five (5) minute maximum time limit allotted to each speaker.
Wayne Toms, the Board’s ITS Manager and Planning Officer, will be tracking the time. He will hold up a yellow card to indicate that you have one minute remaining and a red card when five minutes has ended. When he indicates to you that five minutes has passed, we would ask that you give the microphone to the next speaker.
4. A speaker/presenter may address the committee only once during the course of the meeting.
5. Persons whose comments are not heard due to time constraints or speakers who would like to add to their previously recorded comments may communicate in writing with the PARC Facilitator, within five days, for inclusion of their comments with the input from this meeting.
Information about how to contact Ruth Bailey, the PARC Facilitator, is listed at the bottom of the protocol page and on the Board’s website.
Input from the Public
Chair Chadwick stated that members of the public should not be concerned that Trustees are not providing answers to questions tonight. She indicated that Trustees will be examining the material thoroughly and if they do not find the answers in the reports and the backup materials, they will consult with the appropriate people.
Stacy Beaubiah, Frontenac Public School Parent
Ms. Beaubiah asked if the $9 million the Board is receiving in capital funding for a new school was just for an elementary school, or could that amount be divided among the high schools also. She asked that if the Board builds a new elementary school, are parents and staff members allowed to comment on the things they would like in the new school, and will the programs at Frontenac Public School continue.
Chair Chadwick advised that the announcement that came from Minister Gerretsen, is that the $9 million in capital funding is specifically for a new elementary school. She said that Trustees have not approved anything at this time, but if their decision is that a new elementary school be built in Kingston North, then there is $9 million in funding available for that purpose.
Chair Chadwick, in response to Ms. Beaubiah’s second question about providing input into things in a new school, stated that as part of the process, there is a school integration process that is carried out in consultation with parents and staff. She said that it is important that the integration of students and staff into their new school is achieved in a way that is positive and supportive for the students and parents of the respective school communities. She said that this process is the same process that the Board follows for consolidation of any of its schools. Chair Chadwick said that an Integration Committee is established and that it will plan for and implement the positive integration of students and staff affected by consolidation, closure or
program relocation into their new school environment. She said that an Integration Committee involves representatives from all affected schools. She indicated that the Integration Committee is made up of teachers, administrators and parents, and through them community members may make their wishes known.
Matthew Gventer, Kingscourt Community Association
Mr. Gventer stated that the Kingscourt Community Association is a group of people who are concerned about the neighbourhood in the Kingscourt area. He said that we have heard tonight an onslaught of positions from one sector of our community. He said that the other neighbourhoods are also important and that they have their own identities. He said that Kingscourt is a strong neighbourhood and that there is a strong commitment amongst its neighbours. He said that schools are important to the community and the integrated nature of the community. He said that neighbourhoods are strengthened by children who can walk to school. He commented on the income levels and challenges people in his neighbourhood face, noting that they are different from the speakers
from the Central Public School neighbourhood. He indicated that Kingscourt is more of a working class neighbourhood. He said that the needs of the people in the Kingscourt neighbourhood need to be accommodated and addressed.
Mr. Gventer stated that he had attended a meeting concerning St. Peter Catholic School, and a statement was made that that it is a challenge now to receive funding for a school. He said that at that meeting, it was stated that it would be difficult for them take to into account a public school plan without knowing what the plan would be.
Mr. Gventer stated that funding is now in place, and we need to consider how to address the needs of the community in a more integrated way. He suggested that at the lower grade levels walkability and neighbourhood quality are more important than program options. He stated that in the higher grades, program options become more important. He stated that in the design of a new school, we should consider the needs of the younger children. He said that it would be valuable to organize resources so neighbourhood walkability is maintained. He said that for older children (Grades 4-8) a larger school should be available with many program options.
Ralph Rushton, Kingston Youth Unlimited Centre (located in Kingscourt)
Mr. Rushton stated that closing schools affects school communities in a great way. He said that his own family went through two school closures. He commented that for them, schools in the Kingscourt area are important. He said that right now the Kingston Youth Unlimited Centre feeds 100 children on Thursday afternoons. He said that this neighbourhood is one of the roughest in Kingston. He commented on some of the things the Kingston Youth Unlimited Centre does for children in the neighbourhood. He said that schools are important for their community.
Leah Westlake, Central Public School Parent
Ms. Westlake asked what happens if the government changes, and the $9 million earmarked for a new school is taken away.
Chair Chadwick stated that Senior Staff would address that question in its Follow-Up Report.
Stacy Beaubiah, Frontenac Public School Parent
Ms. Beaubiah asked why the Board could not take the $9 million and put it back into the three existing schools.
Chair Chadwick indicated that question would be addressed in the Senior Staff Follow-Up Report.
Lisa Harman, Frontenac Public School Parent, and Volunteer at Frontenac and First Avenue Public Schools
Ms. Harman stated that Central Public School is close to Frontenac Public School, and Frontenac Public School enjoys everything that Central Public School enjoys. She said that she cannot understand building a new school for 430 students, when one school’s current enrolment is 475. She commented on her experiences in attending a small rural school and a super school.
Ms. Harman stated that First Avenue, Frontenac and Central Public Schools have a lot to offer. She indicated that in five years, enrolment numbers will increase. She said that something needs to be done to keep these three schools open. She commented on some of the current programs now offered at Frontenac Public School. She also commented on some of the unhealthy lifestyle choices related to drugs, sex and smoking that students may see in a super school. She stated that super schools are not good.
Sharon Way, Supports All Schools
Ms. Way stated that she is present this evening to represent all schools. She said that she believes the north end to be a unique place, which needs special consideration. She indicated that there are lots of statistics to support a small school. She commented on Central Public School being a small school, and small schools breeding community. She also commented on the importance of walkability, asking Trustees to keep that in mind when they are making their decision. She said that people need to feel that they can walk to their school so their community does not get lost.
Brad Scott, Parent Council Member, J.G. Simcoe Public School
Mr. Scott stated that he had attended a number of PARC meetings throughout the PARC process, indicating that the process has been interesting. He said that he admires the integrity of the PARC members, as well as their passion and commitment, noting that they had invested a lot of time into the process.
Mr. Scott said that his “heart goes out to” the people involved on the PARC, because it has been an adversarial process. He said that the process should have seen people working together for their children and community. It was not the intention to have schools pitted against one another. He said that with all due respect, he feels that the process has turned into a downtown issue, and tonight we have heard about the sustainability of the downtown and about walkability. He said that they are valid points, but the mandate of the PARC was always what is best for the children, and not so much about the downtown or business community.
Mr. Scott said that he could speak about the J.G. Simcoe neighbourhood. He said that they do not have a lot of people advocating on their behalf. He stated that the people who live in this neighbourhood do not live next door to professors, or professional artists, etc.; they live next door to drug dealers and convicts.
Mr. Scott stated that they are many people present this evening, who are representing children who have a lot of advantages, which is wonderful, but there are not many people present who are representing the J.G. Simcoe neighbourhood children. He said that if a school such as J.G. Simcoe was to close, many students would not have the opportunities they are getting at this school, such as sports, etc. He said that in some other neighbourhoods it would be okay if a school closed because those parents have the resources to give their children what they need to be successful in life.
Mr. Scott said that we should think about the children, and that the process should not become political.
Chair Chadwick reiterated that Trustees have appreciated the interest those present have shown by attending this evening’s meeting, and for providing input to the SE/SCC Committee of the Whole Board. She said that she appreciates their dedication to their children’s school. She said that we are very proud of all of our schools, and that we will be doing the best that we can for all of them. She thanked those present for attending the meeting and supporting their schools by providing this valuable input to the SE/SCC Committee of the Whole Board.
Rise and Report
MOVED BY Trustee French, seconded by Trustee Brown, that the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole rise and report.
MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, seconded by Trustee Goodfellow, that the meeting adjourn at 8:25 p.m.—Carried