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February 7, 2013 - School Enrolment/School Capacity Minutes
School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee
February 7, 2013

A meeting of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board was held at the Limestone District School Board Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
L. French, Vice-Chair
G.  Beavis
H. Chadwick
E.  Crawford
A.  Goodfellow
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:
Krishna Burra, Supervisor of Safe and Caring Schools and Assistant to the Director
Jane Douglas, Communications Officer
Dave Fowler, Manager of Facility Services
Tammy Giles, Supervising Principal
Richard Holmes, Supervising Principal
Brenda Hunter, Director of Education
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
Wayne Toms, Manager, ITS
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Vice-Chair French chaired the meeting.  She called the meeting to order reporting that regrets were received from Trustee Brown and Student Trustee Yun.

Vice-Chair French welcomed those who had joined us in the gallery.  She introduced herself, noting that in her capacity as Vice-Chair of the Board, she will be chairing the remainder of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board meetings this spring, as designated by the Chair of Board, in accordance with our policy.

        Vice-Chair French reminded the audience that this is a regular meeting of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee, and as such, it is not a meeting designed for public input or comment, either verbally or through signage.  On behalf of the Board, she thanked them for their ongoing respect for the integrity of the process and the decorum of the Boardroom.

        Vice-Chair French thanked the Kingston North PARC members, some of whom are present, for their commitment, time and thoughtful participation in the work of that committee.  She said that Trustees truly appreciated the time they devoted to the process.  She also thanked, on behalf of the entire Board, the students and families of the schools under review, and members of the public for their interest, creativity and input throughout this process.

Conflict of Interest

        No Trustee declared a conflict of interest.

Approval of Agenda

        Vice-Chair French advised that an additional item regarding a contractual matter is to be added to the agenda, under Private Session.

MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, seconded by Trustee Goodfellow, that the agenda, as amended, be approved.Carried

Vice-Chair French stated that, as Trustees know, under LDSB Policy 15 (School Accommodation), the Board directed the establishment of a Program and Accommodation Review for Kingston North elementary schools in March 2009.  She commented that the PARC Committee itself held 11 working meetings and four public meetings before presenting its final report to the Board, via the Director of Education, in June 2012.  She indicated that following Trustees’ receipt of the PARC’s report, and in accordance with the accommodation review process, Senior Staff prepared their own report in response to the PARC report and other information.  She said that this report was received by Trustees on November 22, 2012, and was followed by a SE/SCC meeting at J.G. Simcoe Public School on January 8, 2013, for the public to provide their response and input directly to the Trustees.

        Vice-Chair French stated that tonight’s meeting is yet another step in this lengthy multi-phased process.  She indicated that shortly, Senior Staff will present their “Follow-Up” report, designed to respond to the input received at and within five days of the public meeting, and any other information that may have been received since their first report.

        Vice-Chair French thanked Director Hunter and Senior Staff for complying with their duties, as charged by LDSB Policy 15 (School Accommodation) and by Board motions.  She said that there has been a very careful consideration of all of the data and input that has been received, and a fulsome exploration of the various options available to us.   She said that as always, we can be confident that Senior Staff will have kept the education and well-being of our students at the forefront of this very challenging and complex work.  She said that Senior Staff’s work will help Trustees with their deliberations and decisions.

        Vice-Chair French stated that Trustees have already received, and hopefully have had an opportunity to read this report.  She said that following the Senior Staff’s presentation, she will ask for a motion to formally receive the report.  She indicated that during or after Senior Staff’s presentation, Trustees may wish to ask any questions that are for clarification only.  She stated that at that point, Trustees can decide whether there is time and interest to enter into discussion and deliberations, or whether they prefer to wait until the scheduled SE/SCC meetings next week.  She said that Trustees have these dates, and that they are posted on the Board’s website.

        Vice-Chair French stated that as a reminder, once Trustees have come to a majority decision at a SE/SCC meeting, the recommendations will be taken to a meeting of the Board for final approval.  Depending on the length of the deliberations, we expect that this will occur either at the April 10th or May 15th, 2013 Board meeting.

        Director Hunter stated that Superintendent Richard will be reviewing the body of the Senior Staff Follow-Up Report, following which she will share the Senior Staff recommendations.

        The Director, on behalf of the Senior Staff, thanked the PARC members, the staff, students and parents from the schools involved in the review, and the members of the public who have so passionately demonstrated their interest in the future of our schools.  She said that Senior Staff and she view that the broad and high levels of participation that we have seen throughout this process are a measure of the deep commitment we all share to sustaining a strong public education system in Ontario, and here at home in Limestone.

        Director Hunter acknowledged the expertise, time and effort of Senior Staff in bringing their hearts and minds to this important work.  She said that as in all they do, they have in this process shown their great dedication to providing the best possible educational experience to these students that together we serve, now and in the future.

        Director Hunter commented that she would simply like to publicly state again, that the Senior Staff respects and understands that decision-making in this matter is the purview of the Board of elected Trustees, and she reinforced that the Senior Staff is fully committed to implementing the Board’s decision to the best of their ability.
Kingston North Senior Staff Follow-Up Report

        Superintendent Richard stated that this evening, the Senior Staff is very pleased to provide Trustees with the Senior Staff’s Follow-Up Report regarding school accommodations for the Kingston North elementary schools, in accordance with section 3.3 of LDSB Policy 15 (School Accommodation).  He said that this document reports on and responds to presentations made by the public at the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board meeting held at J.G. Simcoe Public School on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, as well as input that was not already included in the PARC Report or the first Senior Staff Report and was forwarded to the PARC Facilitator within five business days following the last public meeting.

        Superintendent Richard commented that the report is on the screen for the benefit of the members of the gallery, but as Trustees have had this report in advance, he will simply highlight the various sections and key points as we review the report, if that is an acceptable process.  Trustees agreed with Superintendent Richard providing highlights of the various sections and key points as the report is reviewed.

        Superintendent Richard stated that the sections of the report can be seen in the Table of Contents.  He said that as he reviews the report, he will mainly stick to the body of the report itself, but should Trustees wish to divert to examine any aspect of the Appendices, the Senior Staff is fully prepared to do so.

        Superintendent Richard referred to Section B - Information Update.  He said that Section B is the Information Update, and it refers to the announcement on January 7, 2013, by John Gerretsen, MPP for Kingston and The Islands, that the Ministry of Education has allocated $9.3 million in funding to the Limestone District School Board for a new elementary school to accommodate students in Kingston North.  He indicated that this new capital project funding, pending the final decision of the Board, will provide Kingston North area students with a modern school facility designed to support 21st Century learning in an accessible and sustainable environment.

        Superintendent Richard referred to Section C - Input Received, noting that it is a chart that has compiled the responses from the public input meeting held at J.G. Simcoe Public School on January 8th, as well as input received within five days following the meeting.  He stated that there were eight formal presentations from the community, noting that the text of the presentations is included in the minutes of the January 8th meeting, which are attached to the report as Appendix A.  He indicated that seven speakers provided input at the SE/SCC meeting of January 8, 2013, indicating that the names of the speakers and the comments are located in the minutes of the meeting, which are attached to the report as Appendix A.  He said that 18 written responses were forwarded to the PARC Facilitator, prior to the meeting or within five working days following the meeting, and are included with the report in Appendix B.

        Superintendent Richard referred to Section D, noting that it is a summary of the key messages from the input comments.  He referred to the quote “Frequency refers to the number of different presenters, speakers and/or pieces of written communications that referenced the message indicated [8 presenters (P), 7 speakers (S), 18 pieces of correspondence (C)].”  He said that reference to 8 presenters (P) means they had booked their timeslot in advance, reference to 7 speakers (S) means speakers from the floor during the meeting, and reference to 18 pieces of correspondence (C) means 18 pieces of correspondence received within five days.  He said that if we use the first category as an example, the focus of the messages is the funding announcement as seen in the left column.  Moving to the middle, one can see the type of comment made, four different ones, and to the right of that the different modes of delivery for those comments.  Five presenters/speakers altogether spoke to the focus area (two formal presenters and three speakers from the floor), and two pieces of correspondence referred to it.  He indicated that if one looks at the comments section, one presenter said it takes the edge off the decision, one presenter indicated it was a great holiday gift and three speakers and one piece of correspondence indicated it was great news, and one piece of correspondence indicated it was an opportunity for the school board to assist in a rejuvenation of this area.  Superintendent Richard said that the rest of the chart is set up in this same manner, grouped into 10 topics with an 11th section for questions that were received either at the meeting or through the correspondence that followed within five days of the public meeting.

        Superintendent Richard remarked that Trustees can see from this data, and will remember themselves from having been present at the public meeting, that this was a very successful public input opportunity.  He further remarked that the Senior Staff is grateful for the time, effort, commitment and respectful demeanour shown by all who participated, and very appreciative of the J.G. Simcoe Public School staff for hosting the meeting.

        Superintendent Richard stated that unless Trustees would like him to review each area individually, he would invite everyone to scroll down to the bottom of the chart, where the Senior Staff has provided a response to each of the focus areas.

        Superintendent Richard referred to Section E - Response.  He said that all members of the Senior Staff were present at the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board meeting at J.G. Simcoe Public School on January 8, 2013 and all have reviewed the input received.  He said that in examining and discussing the presentations made by the public, the Senior Staff has provided a response to each focus area outlined in the chart in section D.

        Superintendent Richard reviewed the Focus areas, as follows:

Focus Area 1: Funding Announcement

        Superintendent Richard stated that the first Focus Area is the funding announcement.  He said that the Senior Staff is very appreciative that the Ministry of Education and the government of the day continues to invest in the long-term infrastructure needs of publicly funded education, and recognizes our shared responsibility to ensure effective and sustainable learning environments for the students of the future, as well as the present.  He said that the announcement of the approval of $9.3 million to build a new school in Kingston North provides Trustees with the opportunity to consolidate two schools into a newly built school facility that will be fully accessible and support 21st Century learning.

        Superintendent Richard stated that the Ontario government has already provided funding for three new schools within the Limestone District School Board:

Superintendent Richard stated that Senior Staff is delighted by the opportunities a new school would provide for students in Kingston North.

Focus Area 2:  Downtown and Housing Intensification

        Superintendent Richard stated that as there has been much attention brought to this area of focus, and Senior Staff has spent a great deal of time exploring considerations around downtown housing intensification and its impact on future school enrolments.  He said that to further our understanding, Senior Staff consulted a number of external sources, including an independent analysis of Kingston housing trends and implications for school enrolment from Watson & Associates Economists Ltd., a very reputable firm that provides demographic analysis support to many school boards and municipalities, including the City of Kingston.  He said that this report is included in its entirety in Appendix D.  He indicated that Senior Staff also utilized data from the City of Kingston’s Planning reports, and consulted with our partners at the City of Kingston and personnel from the new Anna Lane development.

        Superintendent Richard stated that the Senior Staff believes it is important that this section be fully reviewed and that all stakeholders understand that Senior Staff has fully considered the implications of future development on school enrolment.

        Superintendent Richard said that the Senior Staff recognizes and values downtown Kingston as a vibrant residential, recreational, cultural and commercial hub.  He indicated that they recognize the efforts of the City, the Downtown Business Improvement Association and others in planning and implementing strategies to continue to develop the area, including supporting new residential housing for the downtown to increase the area’s population.  As outlined by G. Bain, Director, Planning & Development, the City of Kingston’s Official Plan “establishes a target to increase the urban residential density by a minimum of 9% by the horizon year of 2026.”  (Appendix A – page 32)  The intended growth represents an average across the entire City of a 0.7% increase in all residents per year, including school-aged children.  In determining what this means for new school-aged children in the Limestone District School Board, an enrolment analysis by Watson and Associates Economists Ltd., projects the total number of new Limestone District School Board students to be generated by all new residential units across the City of Kingston over the next 15 years to be 1,069. (An Overview of School-Aged Trends and Residential Development in the City of Kingston: Watson and Associates Economists Ltd., (Watson Report; 2013): Appendix D – page 148).

        Superintendent Richard stated that this projected number of new students refers to the entire city, not just the downtown core.  In fact, school enrolment is unlikely to increase significantly in the downtown area, as the high density housing (i.e. condominiums and apartments) being planned for the City’s core is unlikely to yield many school-aged children.  This outcome is due to the fact that most families with school-aged children in Kingston live in low density (single family) dwellings.  “When examining data from the 2006 census data, it shows the vast majority of school-aged children were living in single family type units.  Approximately 75% of all 4-13 year olds (in Kingston) were in low density units compared with 15% in townhouses and 10% in apartments.” (Watson Report, Appendix D – page 148).

        Superintendent Richard said that of the 7,900 residential units planned and projected for the City of Kingston over the next 15 years, almost 55% are projected to be higher density developments such as townhouses and apartments, which do not attract families with school-aged children (Watson Report, Appendix D – page 148).  For example, the Block D multiple condominium development has yielded a total of three elementary students and three secondary students for Limestone schools. (Baragar GeoSchool, 2012)

        Superintendent Richard stated that the City of Kingston’s Pending and Committed Residential Development Report indicates that 80% of the planned low density projects, where most school-aged children will reside, will be built in or around the Cataraqui Woods Elementary School area and another 15% in the École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School area. (Watson Report, Appendix D – page 149)  To review current and planned intensification projects within the downtown City of Kingston, LDSB planning staff met with representatives from the Planning Department at the City of Kingston.  Included in this discussion were the Williamsville Main Street section (Princess Street between Bath Road and Division Street), the Anna Lane development at Queen and Bagot Streets and planned intensification in the Rideau Heights area.

        Williamsville: The City is currently addressing applications for some developments within the Williamsville area, but of the two currently being planned and under consideration, both are designed with post-secondary students in mind, which would yield little or no new enrolment for LDSB schools in the review area.

Rideau Heights: LDSB staff met with City of Kingston planning staff in order to receive updated information regarding the proposed intensification within the Rideau Heights area. The proposed intensification plans currently include two projects. The first, Marker’s Crescent (off Conacher Drive), is a townhouse development with 258 planned units. There is minimal likelihood of student yield from this development, as the marketing plan is to target the senior population in the development of this area. The second project is to redevelop the current subsidized housing near Rideau Heights P.S. City Council is reviewing this plan and will likely implement it within the next year or two. Again, additional school-aged children are likely to be limited, as this is currently proposed to be a redevelopment of existing housing.

Anna Lane Downtown Condos: LDSB staff contacted staff at the Anna Lane Cooperative Development Corporation about the projected number of school-aged children to occupy their building. The response from sales staff was that with 70% of the units purchased, they do not believe there are any incoming families with small children and only a few (possibly four to six families) with secondary school-aged children.  

Medium and high density units… do not typically produce high numbers of school-aged children. There is also evidence that shows when these units are located in older and mature areas in the core of cities that they are less likely to attract families. These units tend to attract a 19-30 population or over 50 populations. Research tends to show that new build inner core developments gain in populations in two main segments – young adults and young childless couples. (Watson Report, Appendix D - page 149)

        Superintendent Richard reported that Senior Staff concluded that while new populations will without doubt contribute positively and significantly to the vitality of the Kingston’s downtown area, they will not contribute to the resolution of declining enrolment and under-capacity issues in downtown Kingston schools.

Superintendent Richard indicated that the Board has managed the issue of declining enrolment and costly surplus space for many years, through a variety of strategies, but now finds that with a foreseeable future of decreasing funding, it can no longer responsibly and appropriately support aging surplus space.

Focus Area 3: Impact of School Closing on the Downtown

Superintendent Richard commented that Senior Staff has carefully considered the impact of school closure on a neighbourhood.  He said that in a perfect world, there would be sufficient enrolment and funding available to maintain all of Ontario’s urban schools.  However, inadequate school sites, aging buildings which are cost prohibitive to repair, smaller student populations, current government regulations and standards, as well as increasingly limited financial resources, render this option unrealistic.  Accordingly, Senior Staff must be cognizant of what is in the best long-term interests of all Limestone District School Board students.  This compels us to maintain our focus on how to best provide that which is most important: safe, sustainable learning environments and high quality experiences for our children, now and in the future, while remaining pragmatic in balancing fiscal responsibility and community interests.
Focus Area 4: Board Decision

Superintendent Richard stated that Focus Area 4 included comments that the students and walkability be considered in the Board’s decision-making.

        Superintendent Richard advised that the Board will consider student walkability as one of the factors in the decision-making process concerning the consolidation of schools and the review of school boundaries.

        Superintendent Richard commented that the Senior Staff is confident that the Board of Trustees will make a decision based on its unwavering commitment to serving the best interests of all students in the Limestone District School Board, and one which reflects an outcome they believe to be sustainable for the foreseeable future.  The Senior Staff respects the perspective and authority of the Board and is wholeheartedly committed to implementing the Board’s decisions to the best of their ability.

Focus Area 5: Enrolment Data

Superintendent Richard stated that Focus Area 5 relates to the comments about enrolment data, including methodology validity and reliability.  He said that to clarify for Trustees and stakeholders that the Limestone student enrolment data is in fact properly and accurately calculated, Appendix C provides a very detailed summary of the methodology and school by school results of calculations used by Baragar, a leading Canadian company that specializes in school board enrolment projections.  He said that information in Appendix C is very detailed and lengthy but we believe important, as the Senior Staff wishes to be very clear that the longer term projected enrolment increases for J.G. Simcoe are accurate and based on several years of projected increased kindergarten enrolment and not just on the one-time addition of the intermediate students (i.e. grade 7 and 8s).  He stated that also, the longer term decline in enrolment projected for Central P.S. is based on several years of projected lower numbers in the primary division including lower kindergarten numbers.

Superintendent Richard commented that enrolment projections for the LDSB are developed and revised on an annual basis once finalized enrolment data is available.  The official count date for enrolment projection purposes is October 31st of each year.

Superintendent Richard indicated that enrolment projections are based on an analysis of enrolment history, population history and the relationship between the two.  Analysis of this relationship provides us with migration rates (i.e. movement of students from school to school, and in and out of the Board), participation rates (i.e. of a given population, the percentage of students who attend LDSB schools) and out of catchment enrolment using Baragar Systems demographic analysis software.

Superintendent Richard remarked that enrolment data provided in the Senior Staff Report does differ from figures presented to the Kingston North PARC Working Committee, as the Senior Staff were able to use more recent enrolment data than was available at the time the PARC was completing its work.  He said that the data used by the PARC was based on 2010/2011 actual enrolment figures and the corresponding projected future enrolments, while the data in the Senior Staff Report was based on 2011/2012 actual enrolment figures and the corresponding projected future enrolments.

Superintendent Richard reported that Full-Day Kindergarten does not have any impact on our enrolment projections.  He said that since the Ministry of Education announced its plans for Full-Day Kindergarten, we have been projecting kindergarten enrolment as full-time numbers, including all projections used for accommodation reviews.  In schools where Full-Day Kindergarten has not yet arrived, we divide the projection in half for staffing purposes only.  He stated that in Appendix C, we have provided a more in-depth explanation of:

  • the factors considered in the development of enrolment projections, their impact and assumptions;
  • an analysis of the enrolment projections for Central Public School and J.G. Simcoe Public School; and
  • information detailing the accuracy of the enrolment projection calculations provided in Senior Staff’s first report
Superintendent Richard indicated that if Trustees would like to review in greater detail any aspect of our enrolment projections, including how the J.G. Simcoe and Central enrolment changes were calculated, we can move to a review of those relevant sections of Appendix C.  Trustees indicated that they would like to do so.

        Superintendent Richard stated that as we go through Appendix C, we will see that it is complex and a lot of data goes into finalizing these projections.  He said that the following factors also considered when developing the Board’s enrolment projections:

Birth data – indicates why this variable is important, where births fit into the methodology, what influences it, and the database used to get that information;

Population of children by single year of age (ages 1 to 17) – indicates why this variable is important, where it fits into methodology and what influences migration; and

Enrolment by School, Grade and Program – The source of data used is the Student Information System (SIS) of the School District (for Limestone DSB, this is Trillium).  The data is aggregated and then the “in-catchment” enrolment by grade is compared to the “potential registrants” by age (for example, the number of children enrolled in kindergarten are divided by the number of children aged 5 living in a school’s catchment area).

        Superintendent Richard stated that Section 2 provides a detailed analysis of Central Public School and J.G. Simcoe Public School enrolment projections grade by grade.  He indicated that the 2011 projections that Senior Staff used were more updated information.  He reviewed the Central Public School migration statistics, as well as the J.G. Simcoe enrolment history.

        Superintendent Richard stated that there were two significant changes in the projections for J.G. Simcoe Public School between the 2010 and 2011 projections.  First and foremost, the school organization changed from K-6 to K-8, which had begun in the fall of 2010, with the introduction of the grade 7 cohort.  Secondly, the historical migration shows positive growth at the early years, which generates larger cohorts throughout the life of the projection.

        Superintendent Richard stated that in developing the projection, a custom average, excluding 2007 and 2009, was used in the “migration” assumptions for ages “1-4”.  As well, the “participation” rate for JK increased significantly in 2011 and as a result was used as the de facto participation rate moving forward, based on the historical cohort participation rates.

        Superintendent Richard stated that the Baragar projections are annually refined/updated based on new and current information available.  Schools in communities that experience change are also the most likely to show the greatest effect from the updates.

        Superintendent Richard stated that Section 3 talks about projection accuracy.  He said that in terms of elementary schools, it is the total enrolment.  He indicated that as a total, it shows that the Board’s enrolment projections are very accurate.

        Trustee Jackson asked if the background information in Appendix C was a large reformation of Watson & Associates information.  Superintendent Richard indicated that most of the data came from Baragar.  He said that the Watson & Associates information is more about intensification in the City of Kingston.

        In response to a question from Trustee Ruttan regarding the difference between the 2006 Census data and 2011 Census data used for enrolment projections, Superintendent Richard stated that the difference would not be significant.  He said that Senior Staff could go back and enquire about the data, but that the answer would not have a significant impact on the results of the Senior Staff Follow-Up Report.

        Student Trustee Milligan referred to the grade by grade projections on pages 135 and 136 of the Senior Staff Follow-Up Report, indicating that he noticed a large fluctuation between JK and Kindergarten enrolment, than what was originally projected.  Superintendent Richard indicated that we do not know specific reasons why parents choose to send their children to a specific school.  He said that the difference came about because of actual numbers, and that is where Senior Staff used the actual numbers.  He said that is one reason why there is a large change in the projections.

Focus Area 6: School Size (Excerpt from page 12-13 of the Senior Staff Report, November 22, 2012)

Superintendent Richard stated that school size research at the elementary level is not as plentiful as at the secondary level and the size issue was often mixed with other factors.  It was not always clear therefore, that school size was the critical factor causing the impact on student success or well-being.  Some of the research on school size at the elementary level assumed that a larger school equalled larger class sizes. This is not always the case and is not true in Ontario, where lower class size at the primary level is a priority and regulated.  Superintendent Richard stated that the Limestone District School Board also staffs the junior and intermediate grades with a class size target of 26:1.

Superintendent Richard commented that when looking at school size and class size, Ready and Lee (2006) determined the following:

“once we account for the characteristics of students and their schools, class size plays a more consistent role than school size in young children’s cognitive development.” (pg.131)

Leithwood and Jantzi (2007, pg. 26) recommend elementary school size from 300 to 500 with the smaller sizes for schools serving student populations from diverse and/or disadvantaged backgrounds.

Focus Area 7: Schools and Neighbourhoods

Superintendent Richard commented that Focus Area 7 reviews the reason why the Senior Staff recommended Frontenac Public School as the receiving school, should no funding be received, and why J.G. Simcoe Public School was recommended to remain open.  He said that the reasons are articulated below, but to summarize, Frontenac Public School has the most room to accommodate increased student population, and J.G. Simcoe Public School is expected to grow in enrolment and is in the best condition of any of the review area schools.

Superintendent Richard stated that with regard to the concern about different neighbourhoods having different identities, Senior Staff recognized that each school and its neighbourhood have their own characteristics, support systems, and culture.  He said that Senior Staff members also believe, however, that neighbourhoods and communities are not static, but rather are transformative and generative.  They are confident that if two schools were combined, the staff, students and their families would work together for the good of the children to create a positive new identity for the combined school, and that neighbourhoods would join to support the school in this socially unifying endeavour. This has been our predominant experience in previous consolidations, including the most recent consolidations of students into Southview Public School and École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School.
Focus Area 8: Central Public School

Superintendent Richard advised that Senior Staff recognizes and appreciates the value and contributions of all schools, staff, parents and communities in the Kingston North review area.  He said that as the Senior Staff Report outlined on page 33 - Option 1, to build a new school is the preferred choice of Senior Staff, not the closure of Central P.S.

Focus Area 9: Possible Considerations

Superintendent Richard stated that regarding Focus Area 9, the suggestions brought forward in this area had already been accommodated in the first Senior Staff report and recommendations.

Focus Area 10:  Accommodation Review Process

The Senior Staff appreciates and values the high level of stakeholders’ engagement that this process has generated, and respects the importance of their continued partnership in ensuring a successful future for our students, schools, public education system and community.  The Board will continue to review the process regularly, as it does all of its policies and procedures, and make changes, within the Ministry of Education guidelines that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the mandated process.

Superintendent Richard advised that Focus area 11 captures the various questions that were brought forward through this phase of the process.  He said that for the sake of clarity and transparency, we are prepared to review each of the answers to each of these questions, unless the Board prefers otherwise.  He reviewed the following information:

Focus Area 11: Questions

  • 11.1  Is the $9 million the Board is receiving in capital funding for a new school just for an elementary school, or could that amount be divided among the high schools also?
The provincial government’s announcement that the Board has been allocated $9.3 million in capital funding is specific to the building of a new elementary school. Trustees have not approved any recommendations at this time, but if their decision is for a new elementary school to be built in Kingston North, then $9.3 million in funding is available for that purpose.

  • 11.2    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?
As Trustees are aware, Policy 15 – School Accommodation provides for a school integration process that is carried out in consultation with parents, students and staff. The Board believes that it is important that the integration of students and staff into a new school is achieved in a way that is both positive and supportive for the students and parents of the respective school communities.

        When a new school is being built, the Board establishes a design consultation committee, which provides suggestions for school spaces in the new school building. The design committee includes representation from parents, students and school staff in order to ensure that the Board receives input before the design for the new school is finalized.

11.3    Will the programs at Frontenac Public School continue?

        If a new school is approved by the Board, the regular classroom programs will continue as at present. District and community programs may be relocated to the new school or may be relocated to other schools in the area. Should the relocation of existing programs be required, consultation with affected groups will occur to support their appropriate relocation. In accordance with the newly announced Ministry of Education (Ministry) guidelines, the Ministry recognizes that in some cases, schools scheduled to close or to be rebuilt contain existing licensed 0 to 3.8 years of age child-care spaces. The Ministry is willing to fund the capital costs associated with replacing these child-care spaces at replacement schools, as long as the existing child-care spaces are within a school that the school board has decided to close and the students are being accommodated at a new school with funding from the Ministry. In the case of First Avenue P.S. and Frontenac P.S., Circle of Friends Day Care currently operates out of Frontenac P.S. and holds a license for 0 to 3.8 year olds and as such would be given the opportunity to relocate to the new school.

11.4    What happens if the government changes and the $9 million earmarked for a new schools is taken away?

It is customary for a new incoming government to honour previously announced projects, such as the building of a new school and to continue the funding for these projects. Although we cannot speak for a future government, we do not expect the funding to be removed.

11.5    Could the Board take the $9 million and put it back into the three existing schools?

The approval of the $9.3 million capital funding from the Ministry of Education was predicated on the consolidation of First Avenue and Frontenac Public Schools into a new elementary school. Accordingly, it is expected that the funding will be used to accomplish this solution, pending final decision of the Board

11.6    Why has the Senior Staff used numbers in their enrolment projections for J.G. Simcoe that include the 2011/2012 introduction of all‐day JK/SK and of Grade 7/8 to show favorable enrolment projections for J.G. Simcoe while not including in the report that Central P.S. will also have all‐day JK/SK from next year and that Central P.S. does not have Grade 7 or Grade 8?

Superintendent Richard reported that Question 11.6 is a question regarding the use of FDK enrolment when calculating school projections, as well as the addition of Grade 7 and 8 students to J.G. Simcoe Public School.

As Trustees are aware, since the Ministry of Education announcement of its plans for Full-Day Kindergarten, the Board has been projecting kindergarten enrolment as full-time numbers, including all projections used for accommodation reviews. In schools where Full-Day Kindergarten has not yet arrived, we divide the projection in half for staffing purposes only.

It was noted in the first Senior Staff report that Central P.S. houses JK to Grade 6 students. At this point there has been no recommendation to include Grades 7 and 8 in Central Public School.

Superintendent Richard stated that question 11.7 has previously been responded to in the   earlier section dealing with intensification in the downtown area.

11.7    Why is intensification used as a reason to keep Rideau Heights and J.G. Simcoe open but not mentioned in support of keeping Central P.S. open, although the City has made its dedication to the intensification of the downtown very clear?

Recommending the closure of Central Public School should no government funding be forthcoming (Option 2) was a very difficult decision and no single factor lead the Senior Staff to recommend the closure of one school over another. The proposed intensification was only one of the reasons that Senior Staff did not recommend the closure of J.G. Simcoe Public School or Rideau Heights Public School.  Another factor considered was as indicated in section 7 - Schools and Neighbourhoods on page 23 above that J.G. Simcoe Public School is reasonably accessible, is the newest school in the review area and the projections indicate that the school will grow in population.  Also, the projected annual operating savings potentially realized with the closure of J.G. Simcoe is less than any of the other schools, (see Senior Staff Report - pg. 21).  Rideau Heights Public School has the largest enrolment of the review area schools. If it were closed, the remaining four schools do not have the excess capacity to accommodate the enrolment unless all district and community programs are removed from all of the schools.  Senior Staff did not believe that this was an effective solution.

11.8    Explain why the option to close Central still on the table when the closure of Central would not be in line with two of the main criteria for deliberation mentioned by the Senior Staff in their report, namely [1] the decrease in excess student capacity and [2] reduction of building maintenance, operating and renewal costs.

The mandate of the review states that the solution needs to result in a decrease in excess student capacity and a reduction of building maintenance, operating and renewal costs but does not indicate by how much, or that the solution needs to be the highest amount available. Financial consideration is one factor among many that needs to be considered in the process.

11.9    Instead of penalizing Central P.S. for having low numbers of students from inside the catchment area, would it not make more sense to deal with the archaic boundary issues that Central has been suffering from for many years?

As indicated in the recommendations from the Senior Staff Report, if the Board selects the option in which Central P.S. remains open, then it is recommended that the Frontenac/Central South option area become part of the Central P.S. catchment area thereby increasing the catchment area of Central P.S.

11.10Why is the above concern for students at KCVI (“concerned that if KCVI is closed, many of the out‐of‐area students will likely return to their home school rather than attend QECVI”) not extended to students attending Central P.S., many of whom are out‐of‐area (either from Frontenac P.S. catchment or other schools’ catchment areas) and who have vowed either to return to their home schools or to find other solutions, such as enter the private, Catholic, French or other school system?

Why are large out‐of‐area student numbers seen by Senior Staff as a reason to keep KCVI open but seen as a reason to close Central P.S.?

If some parents of out of boundary Central P.S. students elected to return their children to their home school or attend a different school and not move to Frontenac P.S., Senior Staff believes it would be an unfortunate result, but there would still be sufficient numbers of students to operate quality programs.

Due to the nature of programming at the secondary school level and the issue of special programs, the Senior Staff is concerned that there would not be enough students in the regular program to ensure the diversity of courses needed for all post-secondary school destinations, if a large number of out of area students currently attending KCVI did not elect to attend QECVI. This situation is not applicable to elementary schools.

11.11If Option #1 in the Senior Staff report is to transition over 700 students from their schools, why is it such a key concern to transition the smallest number of students in Option #2? In other words, it is clear that the smallest number of students being made to transition schools is not a concern for Option #1, then why is Central School’s small student population being used as a reason to close Central?

Option 1 would result in the closure of Frontenac P.S. and First Avenue P.S. and the movement of these students to a new school. In 2011-2012 the enrolment at these schools totalled 430. This would be the number of students moved to a new facility, which will support 21st~century learning in an accessible and sustainable environment.

Careful transition planning has resulted in the successful consolidations of students into the new École Sir John A. Macdonald and Southview Public Schools, and in developing best practices for future transitions. Should a new school be constructed in North Kingston, staff, students and parents will no doubt work together to ensure an effective transition plan, including all supports necessary. The educational benefits to students resulting from an accessible, updated and improved learning environment are viewed by Senior Staff to outweigh any transitional challenges that may occur. The Senior Staff is committed to supporting students, staff and parents through the process as needed.

        Director Hunter stated that given the information in the PARC Report, input from the community, and information provided in the Senior Staff report and this follow-up report, the Senior Staff wishes to place before the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board the following option.  She said that it is understood that during the decision-making process, Trustees may also choose to consider the options put forward in the Kingston North PARC Report, the Minority Report, those outlined in the November 22, 2012 Senior Staff Report, or any other option that the Board deems appropriate.  However, Senior Staff believes that the option described below takes into consideration the PARC’s recommendations, as well as new information received since the preparation of earlier reports.


Senior Staff recommends:

1.1     That the Limestone District School Board accept the approved funding from the Ministry of Education for the building of a new elementary school in Kingston North.

1.1.1   That the new school be designated as the relocation of Frist Avenue Public School and Frontenac Public School.

1.1.2   That First Avenue Public School and Frontenac Public School be closed as elementary schools.

1.1.3   That, should the Board have no further need of the buildings, then in accordance with the regulations for the disposition of Board property under the Ontario Education Act, the Board make outreach to the municipality and other organizations for the potential conversion of First Avenue Public School and Frontenac Public School to community services and recreations hubs, seniors housing complex, or other purposes with value to the community.

1.1.4   That, where possible, the new school be designed with spaces to include important memorabilia from the two schools being replaced, as well as playground equipment and other features, as appropriate.

Site Selection:

The Senior Staff discussed at length recommendation 1.2 from the Senior Staff Report, which recommended that “the QECVI grounds be considered for the location for the new elementary school.”  Given that the Ministry of Education has now approved funding for a new school, and pending approval by the Board, the Senior Staff would like to recontact some of our potential partners, to confirm their interest in either co-locating on a site or joint construction project.  The needs of potential partners, as to site location and building space, could influence the Board’s decisions regarding the suitability of specific locations.  Preliminary data regarding size and walking distances for some potential sites for a new elementary school within the Kingston North area is attached (see Appendix E).

As well, the outcome of the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Program and Accommodation Review may also influence the Board’s decision-making regarding the location for the new elementary school.

Given the above factors, the Senior Staff offers the following recommendations concerning the new school:

1.2     That the Limestone District School Board defer the selection of a site for the new elementary school pending Board decision-making in the Central Kingston Program and Accommodation Review, and pending confirmation of interest by a community partner or partners in co-location or joint co-construction opportunities.

1.3     That the Board issue an Expression of Interest to solicit a potential partner or partners wishing to pursue a co-location or joint co-construction opportunity on the site of the new school.

1.4     That the current optional catchment areas of Frontenac/First Avenue and Frontenac/Central North be designated as part of the catchment area for the new school as per the Kingston North PARC Report (page 14).

1.5     That Central Public School be maintained as a school and the current optional catchment area of Frontenac/Central South be designated as within the catchment area of Central Public School, as per the Kingston North PARC Report (page 14).

1.6     That J.G. Simcoe Public School be maintained as a school, to accommodate the increased projected enrolment.

1.7     That Rideau Heights Public School be maintained as a school and the Board continue to participate in discussions, as an active partner, in the Wally Elmer/Rideau Heights redevelopment project, with the intent that the school become part of a community hub to provide services and recreation to area students and their families.

1.8     That once a site has been selected for the new school, the Limestone District School Board review the walkability and transportation of students to the new school and determine the organization that is most reasonable, desirable, and financially feasible, including possible movement of boundaries of other neighbouring schools.

F.      Additional Recommendations

In addition to the Board’s selection of an accommodation option, Senior Staff recommends the following:

1.      The Board continue to pursue funds for the renovation of all school buildings in north Kingston through applications for capital grants and through exploration of business partnership arrangement, as appropriate.

2.      The Board facilitate the development of community hubs with current partners already using space in the buildings, as well as partners such as the Kingston Community Health Centres and the City of Kingston.  These community hubs, as possible, be developed in or adjacent to the elementary schools that are to be maintained, as well as in the new school, if approved by the Board.

3.      Following the decommissioning of any elementary school, and in accordance with the regulations for the disposition of Board property under the Ontario Education Act, the Board make outreach to the municipality and other organizations for their consideration of the repurposing of the site to ensure its continued value to the community, including potential cultural, social and recreational opportunities and services.

        Vice-Chair French thanked the Director and Superintendent Richard for presenting the above-noted information.  She said that the next step is for the Board to move receipt of the report, but before asking for a mover, she would like to clarify for the gallery that a motion to receive the report is only that.  It does not imply agreement or approval of anything in the report; simply that the report is officially received and now before the Board.

        MOVED BY Trustee Chadwick, seconded by Trustee Beavis, that the Senior Staff Follow-Up Report be received.–Carried

        Trustee Ruttan referred to item 1.2 and asked if the sending out of Expressions of Interest would happen after the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools accommodation review has been decided.

        Director Hunter indicated that Trustees could ask Senior Staff to begin that process, in order to have that information available to consider, when making a decision about the Central Kingston accommodation review.

        Trustee Ruttan asked about multiple organizations wanting to be partners.  Director Hunter stated that we would be guided by the Board’s current procurement process and facilities partnership procedure, but any partner would have to be in alignment with the Board’s values, vision and mission statement.

        Trustee Chadwick referred to Appendix E, Walkability Chart, and asked if the criteria relative to recommendation 1.8, where we mention walkability affecting the boundaries of other schools, would that recommendation require another PARC.

        Director Hunter indicated that another PARC would not be required, if less than 50% of students in any school are affected.  Superintendent Richard stated that it would be our intent that any boundary change would be at the margins of an enrolment area, and that less than 50% of the students would be affected.   He stated that once the site is chosen, then the Board would also consider the safety of students, and some students may have to be bussed.

        Student Trustee Milligan referred to a boundary change, i.e. students in the Frontenac/Central North option area going to the new school, and said that 430 students would go to the new school, and asked if the 22 students in that area currently attending Central Public School would be added to the 430 projected to attend originally.  Superintendent Richard stated that the intent is to send them to the new school.  He said that if we look at recommendation 1.8, it talks about doing the analysis after a site is selected.  He said that staff would consider the most reasonable organization and possible boundary changes.  He said that there is a lot more work to do, once a site is selected.

Recess to Private Session

        MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, seconded by Trustee Jackson, that the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board recess at 7:25 p.m. for ten minutes to reconvene in Private Session at 7:35 p.m.—Carried

Private Session

        MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, seconded by Trustee Chadwick, that the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board resolve itself into Private Session at 7:35 p.m.—Carried

Information Re: Partnerships

        Director Hunter provided information concerning a potential partnership opportunity that emerged from our outreach.  

School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board to Rise and Report

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


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