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January 15, 2013 - School Enrolment/School Capacity Public Meeting Minutes
School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee
January 15, 2013

A School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board public meeting to receive input on the recommendations regarding accommodation at Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools was held on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 6:30 p.m., at Loyalist Collegiate and Vocational Institute (LCVI), 153 VanOrder Drive, Kingston.
Present Trustees:
H. Chadwick, Chair
G. Beavis
H. Brown
E. Crawford
L. French, Vice-Chair
D. Jackson
B. Milligan, Student Trustee
P. Murray
S. Ruttan
Present Staff:
Brenda Hunter, Director of Education
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Roger Richard, Superintendent of Business Services
Wayne Toms, Manager, ITS        
Present Other:
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 Secretary
Andre Labrie, Superintendent of Human Resources
Shawn Lehman, Supervising Principal
Norah Marsh, Superintendent of Education
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal
Roger Richard, Superintendent of Business Services
Karen Smith, Communications Officer
Wayne Toms, Manager of ITS and Planning Officer
        Chair Chadwick thanked LCVI students Josh and David for organizing the audio equipment for this evening’s meeting.

        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 Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools  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 when Chair Chadwick introduced him/her, and the Chair advised of the area of the district that he or she represents. She reported that Trustee Goodfellow, who represents Central Frontenac, Addington Highlands and North Frontenac Townships, has sent her regrets for this evening’s meeting as there was a death in her family.  She reported that regrets were also received from Student Trustee Christina Yun.

        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 Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools 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 Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools 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 the 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 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, are the Director of Education, Brenda Hunter, and the other nine members of the LDSB Senior Staff.

        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 to be held in February, 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 be held for the Trustees to discuss, deliberate and come to a decision. She said that the motion to approve a recommendation from the SE/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 Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools PARC Report and the Senior Staff Report, in case anyone would like to reference a particular recommendation when they make their comments.
        Chair Chadwick stated that we anticipate that the meeting tonight may be lengthy and that we have planned two ten-minute breaks for Trustees, one at about 8:00 p.m. and the other when needed.

Approval of the Agenda

        MOVED BY Trustee Crawford, seconded by Trustee Murray, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.—Carried

Overview of the Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools Program and Accommodation Review Process

        Superintendent Richard provided a brief overview of the Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools Program and Accommodation Review Process, as follows:

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 the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools be established and begin meeting in the fall of 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;

(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 Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools 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.      The PARC recommendations need to address the following criteria:

        2.1     The enhancement, where possible, of the program and learning opportunities for students;
        2.2     The reduction of building maintenance and operating expenses and the need for major capital improvements; and
        2.3     The optimization of excess student capacity at the schools within the review.

        Superintendent Richard advised of the following:

  • The Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools PARC held 14 public working meetings between November 1, 2011 and June 21, 2012.
  • The Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools PARC held four public meetings to present information, respond to questions and receive input from the public.
  • The Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools PARC received 47 potential options for the schools in the review.
  • The PARC Report was finalized by the committee at their working meeting on June 21, 2012 and the final report was presented to the Director of Education in July 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, hopefully, in February 2013.  He reported that subsequent to a decision, as in accordance with Policy 15 (School Accommodation), a School Integration Committee would be established.

Scheduled Presentations

        Chair Chadwick indicated that there are 20 scheduled presentations, saying that we want each presenter to adhere to the ten-minute time limit. She advised that Wayne Toms, the Board’s ITS Manager and Planning Officer, will be tracking the time.  He will hold up a green card to indicate that you have two minutes remaining, a yellow card to indicate that you have one minute remaining, and a red card when ten minutes has elapsed.
        Chair Chadwick asked that members of the audience be respectful, and not be disruptive, thereby allowing Trustees to listen attentively to what is being said. She also asked audience members to hold their applause until the end of each presentation.

Jennifer Goodfellow, Calvin Park PS and LCVI Parent and Co-Chair of the Calvin Park School Council, and Janet Lee, LCVI Parent and School Council Member

        A copy of Ms. Goodfellow and Ms. Lee’s presentation is appended as Appendix A.

Jamie MacFarlane, Hank Perrin, Maddy Tripp, Jared Kurish, Tyler Ling, QECVI Students

        A copy of Jamie, Hank, Maddy, Jared and Tyler’s presentations are appended as Appendix B.

Sue Cumming, Module Vanier Parent, Parent Council Representative, and Central PARC Representative

        A copy of Ms. Cumming’s presentation is appended as Appendix C.

Meghann Brunet and Ian Ball, Residents of Kingston East, Concerned Parents and Community Members

        A copy of Ms. Brunet and Mr. Ball’s presentation is appended as Appendix D.

Jason Trueman

        Mr. Trueman thanked Senior Staff for the work they put into finding solutions.  He suggested that a three-school solution is also a possibility. A copy of Mr. Trueman’s presentation is appended as Appendix E.

Joe Hawkins, Kingscourt Community Association, Kingscourt Area Resident, Former City Council Member

        A copy of Mr. Hawkins’ presentation is appended as Appendix F.

Robert Kiley, Former QECVI Student Teacher, Current MPP Candidate, Policy Student, Community Activist, Proud Kingstonian, Concerned Citizen and Person of Faith

        A copy of Mr. Kiley’s presentation is appended as Appendix G.

Paula Klink, LCVI Parent, and Debbie Villeneuve, LCVI Parent, Co-Chair of LCVI School Council, and Co-Chair of School Council Liaison (PIC) Committee

        A copy of Ms. Klink and Ms. Villeneuve’s presentation is appended as Appendix H.

David Mathers, Member of Calvin Park Public School Advisory Committee

        A copy of Mr. Mathers’ presentation is appended as Appendix I.

        The Chair called a 10-minute recess at 8:02 p.m.

        The SE/SCC Committee of the Whole Board reconvened at 8:12 p.m.

Cathy Rochon

        A copy of Ms. Rochon’s presentation is appended as Appendix J.

Lindsey Foster, Module Vanier, and KCVI Parent

        A copy of Ms. Foster’s presentation is appended as Appendix K.

Lindsay Davidson, KCVI Parent

        A copy of Dr. Davidson’s presentation is appended as Appendix L.

Matthew Gventer, Kingscourt Resident and Coordinator of the Kingscourt Community Association

        A copy of Mr. Gventer’s presentation is appended as Appendix M

Dr. Arthur Cockfield, KCVI Parent, and Chair of Save KCVI

        Dr. Cockfield stated that he supports the idea of saving all three of the targeted high schools.  He presented a petition, with 1,000 signatures, to Chair Chadwick.

A copy of Dr. Cockfield’s presentation is appended as Appendix N.

Keitha Gillespie, Kingscourt Area Resident

        A copy of Ms. Gillespie’s presentation is appended as Appendix O.

Carl Bray, KCVI Parent Representative, Central PARC Committee

        A copy of Mr. Bray’s presentation is appended as Appendix P.

Sue Morrison, Member of the Kingscourt Community Association, Kingscourt Area Resident, and Member of Kingston Community

        A copy of Ms. Morrison’s presentation is appended as Appendix Q.

Darko Matovic, Strathcona Park Resident, and Concerned Kingston Resident

        A copy of Mr. Matovic’s presentation is appended as Appendix R.

Julia Hale, QECVI Teacher

        A copy of Ms. Hale’s presentation is appended as Appendix S.

Jeff McKerracher, Case Manager, Youth Services Program, Home-Base Housing

        A copy of Mr. McKerracher’s presentation is appended as Appendix T.

        Chair Chadwick stated that concludes the scheduled presentations. She said that previously we had indicated that the meeting would adjourn at 10:00 p.m.  However, since it was close to 10:00 p.m., she asked for a motion that the meeting be extended beyond 10:00 p.m.  

MOVED BY Trustee Beavis, seconded by Trustee French, that the adjournment time of the meeting be extended past 10:00 p.m.—Carried

Chair Chadwick called for a 10-minute recess for Trustees at 9:45 p.m.  The meeting reconvened at 9:55 p.m.

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 green card to indicate that you have two minutes remaining, a yellow card to indicate that you have one minute remaining, and a red card when five minutes has elapsed. 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.

Skot Caldwell, QECVI Area Resident, LCVI Parent, and Limestone District School Board Employee

        Mr. Caldwell stated that he resides in the QECVI area, he has a daughter who attends LCVI, and he is an employee of the Limestone District School Board.  He said that he is not representing any of the communities.

        Mr. Caldwell said that the process has been handed to us by the Province, and they have asked the community to take an activist role – to speak up as to what we consider important in our community.  He commented that questions still float out there provincially that impact massively on this process.

        Mr. Caldwell commented that we have a separate school system that is funded by the Province as well. He further commented that many schools in the separate system are under-enrolled as well. He said that many communities have separate schools as well as public schools.  He stated that he wonders if it is time to talk about this, and if Trustees and Senior Administrators should take an activist role in this matter, and speak to the Province about this issue. He commented that Trustees are the public’s representatives. He remarked that this is a huge issue, and that this is something that needs to be talked about. He further remarked that he does not know who will take it on if we don’t take it on as educators. He stated that we need to have a conversation about equity, funding, community, and the impact of having a separate school system that is fundamentally exclusive. He suggested that Trustees take an activist role and discuss this issue with the Province.

Brenda Smolka, Manager of Residence at St. Lawrence College and Teacher in Arts and Science Faculty at St. Lawrence College

        Ms. Smolka stated that she was captured by one of the key messages.  She said that right now we are tasked with leadership and governance. She said that collectively, as Trustees, they can weave a new process that could redefine education. She said that their legacy could be about courageous refocusing that takes the things we have learned and puts them into a new process.  She commented on a legacy that says there comes a time that we care more about testimony than title.  She said that as Kingstonians we pride ourselves on history and of being the first capital of Canada. She said that we can be a City that says enough is enough, and take a stand that requires courageous leadership of those we elect. She said that Trustees have an opportunity to find solutions. She asked about what our next generation of students will read in their textbooks, and what they would say about Trustee leadership.

Mike Green, Sydenham Public School Parent

        Mr. Green stated that his children attend Sydenham Public School, and that his oldest child will attend KCVI next year. He advised that he has attended all of the public meetings throughout the PARC process.

        Mr. Green stated that he was happy to see the strong representation from QECVI tonight, telling us about the importance of their school. He said that he has heard that same passion about KCVI at other meetings. He said that the biggest issue facing Trustees is that the options are not good. He said that there is a slim chance that the Board will receive funding from the Province for a new high school. He said that the Board just received excellent news that $9 million is available for the construction of a new elementary school in Kingston North. He believes that the option of a new secondary school is off the table.

        Mr. Green stated that the PARC Report had an option that would see the closing of KCVI, with LCVI and QECVI being maintained. He said that the Senior Staff Report includes an option that would close QECVI, and keep KCVI and LCVI.  He commented that KCVI is a magnet school academically, and that the focus is not on the socio-economic elite. Mr. Green commented on the excellent programs, such as the Focus and Elite Athletics, at QECVI.  He said that it would be difficult to replicate the schools.

        Mr. Green stated that parents who live downtown have concerns about QECVI as an intermediate site. He said that the area of Sydenham Ward is the farthest area from LCVI and QECVI.

        Mr. Green encouraged Trustees to come up with a three-school solution.

Charlie Tremblay, QECVI Student

        Mr. Tremblay stated that he is a QECVI student, who resides on Patrick Street in the City of Kingston. He commented on the importance of having a school in the community. He said that it was mentioned that KCVI is an academic success, and that to have students in a neutral school, with KCVI students might be an academic success also. He said that he would love to have that, which would push him academically. Mr. Tremblay said that to have no school in the north end is baffling.

        Mr. Tremblay said that he is from QECVI, and he is open to change.

Christine Sypnowich, Kingston East Resident, and KCVI Parent

       Ms. Sypnowich stated that she cares about the future of the schools in our City, and as a parent of children who attend KCVI, she also cares a lot about KCVI.  She commented on KCVI’s academic success and economic diversity.  She said that when she heard that KCVI might close, she thought she would like to become involved in saving it.  She stated that all three schools are important and unique, and therefore, she got involved in trying to save all three high schools.

        Ms. Sypnowich said that when it looked like KCVI might be saved, the KCVI parents wanted to help save all three schools.  She asked that Trustees keep all three schools open, noting that they have been given interesting suggestions as to how that might be accomplished. She said that she knows that their decision-making will not be easy.

Ralph Rushton, Member of a Youth Centre on Kingscourt Avenue

        Mr. Rushton stated that he does not live in the area.  He said that he is part of a Youth Centre, located in the Chocolate Church building on Kingscourt Avenue.  He said that the centre has a number of kids that come from QECVI.  He said that the centre feeds 100 or so people every Thursday.  He advised that the Youth Centre has been in its current location for the past couple of years.

        Mr. Rushton stated that it is sad that we consider the future of our children only in the area of money.  He said that we need to find more money in order to keep all three schools open, to allow our kids to go to the school within the area where they live.

        Mr. Rushton commented on his personal situation in 1988.  He said that his children attended Cataraqui Public School.  However, in 1988, Cataraqui Public School closed because of the lack of enrolment at the school.  He said that since that time the area has expanded, and now, if that school had been kept open, it would likely be filled.  He said that his family then moved to within the Collins Bay Public School attendance area.  He said that during the time, closure of Collins Bay Public School was discussed.  However, at that time, the decision was to keep Collins Bay Public School open.  

        Mr. Rushton commented on the importance of having community schools.  He said that Trustees should try to keep all three high schools open.

Lori Bark, QECVI Parent

        Ms. Bark said that she is the parent of a QECVI student.  She said that she is battling cancer and was scheduled for surgery today; however, she changed that date of her surgery in order to attend this evening’s meeting, because she believed it was important.

        Ms. Bark commented that she attends every basketball and volleyball game at QECVI, she is involved in feeding students on Fridays, as well as involved in clothing kids for winter.  She commented on the importance of community schools.

        Ms. Bark said that if a new school is built that it is important to have every student’s needs met, and that the current teachers at the schools involved in this process be involved in the integration process.

        Ms. Bark stated that it disgusts her that the Senior Staff Report did not include an option that saves all three schools.  She asked them to figure out an option that could save all three schools.

David Gordon, Downtown Resident, and KCVI Parent

        Mr. Gordon recommended that the Board close the former Calvin Park building, if it needed to close a site.  He said that he has not heard a good reason to keep this building open, and he doesn’t believe anyone would be upset if that building closed.  He commented that he realizes that Trustees have a tough decision ahead of them.

        Mr. Gordon commented on declining enrolment in secondary schools, and the increase in enrolment at elementary schools due to the addition of Full-Day Kindergarten at elementary schools.  He suggested that one way to manage over capacity is to close intermediate school buildings.  He said that he has seen how successful Grade 7 and 8 programs are in high schools.  He said that he does not see much value, as an urban planner and as a community person, to keep the former Calvin Park building, and that it does not add value to the Calvin Park community.  He said that building has a lot of things wrong with it.  He said that the property on which the former Calvin Park building sits, is the Board’s biggest piece of property near Sir John A. Boulevard and Bath Road, and that property could be re-developed for other purposes.  He said that this would also give the Board a reduction in capacity to show to the Province.

        Mr. Gordon said that he is adding his voice to the group in support of keeping all three schools open as neighbourhood hubs.  He indicated that Mr. Bray, in his presentation, has shown the Board how to generate money in a sustainable way.

        Mr. Gordon commented that it is better to fix school buildings than to tear down and build a new one.  He said that this would be more acceptable to the communities involved.  He said that keeping QECVI open is huge for its community.  He said that it is also important to have a downtown high school, and a high school in the LCVI area.

        Mr. Gordon said that if there is a need to close a school building, then he is suggesting that the former Calvin Park building be closed.

Dr. Arurna Khanna, KCVI Parent

        Dr. Khanna stated that she works in the field of mental health, and she is speaking as an immigrant who values Kingston and its history, and as the mother of a Grade 9 student at KCVI.  She said that she lives in the downtown, and that having her daughter attend school that is close to her work is important.

        Dr. Khanna said that it has been a distressing process.  She said that people have been afraid that their school would be closed.  She said that closing a high school should not be an option, and that Trustees have been given many suggestions that would help make the money that they need in order to keep all three schools open.  She said that our kids would suffer if any of the high schools were closed.  She said that as a worker in the mental health field, she knows that small schools are important.

        Dr. Khanna said that she is distressed to see how KCVI has been characterized.  She said that closing a school should be the Board’s last option.  She said that she hopes that Trustees will be courageous, and say that no school will be closed.  She said that she supports a three-school solution.

Don Rogers, City of Kingston Resident

        Mr. Rogers said that the Province of Ontario has gotten off easy tonight, and the Province has placed Trustees in an untenable situation.  He said that the Province has set up a divisive process that puts stress on communities.  He said that they have left Trustees to do the “dirty work”.

        Mr. Rogers stated that the PARC process has pitted school against school and community against community.  He said that he has heard a voice that indicates that it is time to take a stand and find a solution.  He said that the request is for Trustees to look at creative proposals to come up with a solution where each school can thrive.

        Mr. Rogers stated that he has been involved in politics, and that he has learned, as an elected official over the years, that the most important legacy that an elected official can leave is to come up with win/win solutions.  He commented that we should all work for a win/win solution.

        Chair Chadwick thanked speakers for their comments, noting the information has been recorded and that it will be reviewed when Trustees look at all of the materials.  She stated 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.

        The Chair thanked Director Hunter and Senior Staff for attending this evening’s meeting also.

Rise and Report

        MOVED BY Trustee French, seconded by Trustee Jackson, that the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole rise and report.


        MOVED BY Trustee Beavis, seconded by Trustee Crawford, that the meeting adjourn at 10:30 p.m.—Carried