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March 19, 2013 - School Enrolment/School Capacity Minutes
School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee
March 19, 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 Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
L. French, Vice-Chair
G.  Beavis
H. Brown
H. Chadwick
E.  Crawford    
A.  Goodfellow (via Skype)
D.  Jackson
B. Milligan, Student Trustee
P.  Murray
S.  Ruttan (via Skype)
Present Staff:
Ruth Bailey, Accommodation Review Facilitator
Myra Baumann, Manager of Financial Services
Krishna Burra, Supervisor of Safe and Caring Schools and Assistant to the Director
Jane Douglas, Communications Officer
Dave Fowler, Manager of Facility Services
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 Student Trustee Yun.

Vice-Chair French welcomed those who had joined us this evening.  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 advised that Trustees Goodfellow and Ruttan have joined the meeting remotely through Skype.

Vice-Chair French reviewed the process and protocols for this evening’s meeting.  She indicated that this meeting is not designed to receive public input or comment, either verbally or through signage.  She advised that no decision will be made tonight.  Trustees will not be discussing the Senior Staff Follow-up Report this evening, and any questions they may have will be limited to those requesting clarification.

        Vice-Chair French reminded our guests that this meeting is a regular meeting of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee, and as such, remains a formal Board meeting.  She requested that everyone be respectful, patient and cooperative in allowing us to conduct our meeting and complete the business on the agenda without interruption.  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 indicated that tonight, Trustees will receive the Senior Staff Follow-up Report for the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools’ accommodation review.  She indicated that highlights of the Senior Staff Follow-up Report will be presented to Trustees by Superintendent Richard, with the Director presenting the recommendations contained in the report.

        Vice-Chair French advised that the Senior Staff Follow-up Report will be posted on the Limestone DSB website for the public to access at under the Accommodation tab, following the meeting.

        Vice-Chair French reported that following tonight’s meeting, Trustees will begin deliberations, noting that the meeting dates have been advertised.  She reported that the meetings will be ongoing as required.  She said that the earliest Trustees can make an initial decision would be at the regularly scheduled Board meeting of April 10, 2013.  She indicated that in the event that Trustees require additional time, the Board may make its final decision at a later Board meeting, likely at the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on May 15, 2013.

        Vice-Chair French thanked the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools PARC members, many 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 reported that an additional item, concerning an unrelated matter, is to be added to the agenda.

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

        Vice-Chair French called on Superintendent Richard to present the body of the Senior Staff Follow-up Report.

Senior Staff’s Follow-up Report re: School Accommodations for the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools
Superintendent Richard stated that he was pleased this evening to provide Trustees with the Senior Staff’s Follow-up Report regarding school accommodations for the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools in accordance with section 3.3 of Board Policy #15 (School Accommodation).  He indicated that this document reports on and responds to the presentations made by the public at the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee (SE/SCC) meeting of the Whole Board held at Loyalist Collegiate and Vocational Institute on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, and input forwarded to the PARC Facilitator that was not already included in the PARC Report or the Senior Staff Report.  He advised that Trustees have received this report electronically in advance and a hard copy has been placed in front of them this evening.  He stated that as well, the report is on the screen for the benefit of the members of the gallery and the report will be posted on the Board’s website following this meeting.

Superintendent Richard stated that as he reviews the report, he will mainly adhere to the main ideas from the body of the report itself, but should Trustees wish to divert to examine any aspect of the Appendices, Senior Staff is fully prepared to do so.  He indicated that Senior Staff would expect to delve into aspects of this report and related particular topics during the deliberation meetings over the coming weeks.

Superintendent Richard indicated that the various sections of the report are listed in the Table of Contents.  He said that following that section, the section called Input Received summarizes the number and type of responses received from the public input meeting held at LCVI on January 15h, as well as input received within 5 days following the meeting.

Superintendent Richard advised that Section C provides a summary of the content of the input received, organized into 15 different areas.  He said that as in the Kingston North report, Frequency refers to the number of different presenters, speakers and/or pieces of written communications that referenced the message indicated in the table.
Superintendent Richard stated that Trustees will recall that a presenter was someone who had reserved their presentation slot in advance of the meeting, a speaker was someone who spoke from the floor, and correspondence was that which followed the meeting within five days of the meeting date, and forwarded to the PARC Facilitator.  He remarked that Trustees can see from this data and will remember themselves from having been present at the meeting, that this was a very successful public input opportunity.  He said that the Senior Staff is grateful for the time, effort, commitment and respectful demeanour shown by all who participated, and very appreciative of the LCVI staff for hosting the meeting that evening.

        Superintendent Richard commented that unless Trustees would like him to review each area individually, he would invite everyone to move down to the bottom of the chart on the top of page 10, where the Senior Staff provides a response to each of the focus areas.

Superintendent Richard referred to section D: Response.  He commented that Senior Staff members were present at the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board meeting at LCVI on January 15, 2013, and they have reviewed at great length the input received.  He said that it has been very emotionally and intellectually challenging for all of us.

Superintendent Richard stated that in examining and discussing the input provided by the public, the Senior Staff offered a response for each focus area outlined in the chart in Section C.  He said that the first focus area summarized comments about Student Needs & Interests, and the need for stability and opportunity within diverse learning environments.

Superintendent Richard stated that Focus Area 1 summarizes comments about student needs and interest, and the need for stability and opportunity within diverse learning environments.  He stated that the Limestone District School Board offers a wide variety of programs and services such as Specialist High Skills Majors, Cooperative Education, Dual Credit, International Baccalaureate, French Immersion/Extended, Focus, Transitions, School to Community, Challenge, LEAP, ATLAS, student engagement strategies, alternative sites and student success teams in order to engage and support the variety of interests and needs of the Grade 7 to 12 students, as they strive to gain a secondary school diploma and credits appropriate to their chosen post-secondary destination.  Our practices are shaped by sound educational research and aligned with the expectations of the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Superintendent Richard commented that Senior Staff believes that the Board is very successful in the programs and services that it offers; however, this wide variety of course offerings and their success also create programing issues, when the available student population in a school declines.
Superintendent Richard advised that Focus Area 2 reported comments about each of the schools.  He said that throughout the review process the input from the public has demonstrated pride, passion and attachment to each of the schools in the review area.  He said that Senior Staff also feels these emotions and appreciates the dedication and engagement exhibited by students, parents, staff and the community at large.  He said that we are proud of all of the students who attend or have graduated from our schools and the supportive staff who strive every day to meet the students’ needs and foster their interests.  Superintendent Richard commented that many of us have experienced the opportunity of working with one or more of the secondary schools in the review area and know first-hand the many strengths of the schools and their value to our communities.  Each school has served its community well and has worked creatively over many years to maintain the high level of service needed and deserved by the students.  Being able to continue the variety and quality of programs has stretched some of the schools to a point where action must be taken.

Superintendent Richard stated that the enrolment at the secondary level has steadily declined and is projected to continue to do so over the next 8 years.  From 1995 to 2011, the enrolment in the Intermediate schools in Central Kingston has increased by 90 students or 19%.  This increase was mainly the result of the introduction of Challenge, Atlas and LEAP students, most of who returned to their home schools following elementary graduation.  The student enrolment at the three secondary schools has declined by 1,111 students or 32%.  This decline has created significant excess capacity in the secondary schools.  The decline of 1,111 secondary students represents an approximate surplus capacity of 53 classrooms.  The chart in Table 1 of the Senior Staff Follow-up Report provides an overview of the enrolment numbers from 1995 to 2011.

Superintendent Richard stated that the significant enrolment decline during the 1995-2011 period has impacted the number and variety of secondary courses that are offered at the schools.  He indicated that Table 1 provides an overview of the courses offered at the three secondary schools in the 2011-2012 school year.  Teaching sections assigned for areas such as library, guidance, school to community and special individual arrangements were not included in this table.

Superintendent Richard stated that Table 2 shows the variance in the number of sections for each grade and course type for each of the three secondary schools.  A larger number of courses at a particular grade and pathway indicate greater course variety and opportunity for students.  Some students have registered at schools other than their home schools in order to access course offerings that would allow them to better access their post-secondary destination of choice and to further personal interests.

Superintendent Richard stated that Focus Area 3 includes comments about a three-school option.  He said that Senior Staff understands and appreciates the appeal of maintaining all three schools.  He advised that for the purpose of re-analyzing the three-school option, Senior Staff set aside the financial issues and again reviewed and discussed at length many possible programing options that might be employed to maintain all three schools and the variety of programs and courses needed.

Superintendent Richard stated that Senior Staff reviewed all of the programing information related to a three-school model that was provided in the Senior Staff Report.  He indicated that it is provided in Appendix C of the report for ease of access by the reader.  This section responds to particular suggestions made to keep all three schools operating.

Superintendent Richard clarified the following points:

The provision of the variety of programing needed by students today, in order to meet the requirements of the secondary school diploma, their chosen post-secondary destinations and their interests, is complex and with declining enrolment significantly more difficult to deliver.

Delivering some courses in alternate years and stacking classes are practices used when needed.  To significantly increase these strategies, i.e. three courses in one class, courses offered only once every three years and/or at different sites, as well as only through e-learning, are not the best or even workable solutions for some students and some courses. Use of technology and e-learning to support teaching in the classroom is a valuable way to broaden and enrich the students’ learning experiences.  For some students, engaging in a course only through e-learning promotes independence and responsibility for learning. However, for many others the on-line course experience is a frustrating struggle.

Senior Staff believes that the idea put forward to provide Grade 9 and 10 in each of the three secondary schools and then each school specializing for Grades 11 and 12 is not an effective delivery model.

A number of issues would arise with this model.  Firstly, the provision of a full range of programs to a small number of students would be challenging.  Given that some students migrate to other schools, some move away or for other reasons do not attend QECVI, the projected Grade 9 population for QECVI for 2013 is 83 and for 2014 is 68.  This does not provide nearly enough students to deliver a full academic, applied and locally developed program for all of the Grade 9 and 10 students.  

Secondly, segregating the Grade 11 and 12 programing areas by schools such as academic, arts, trades and technology would limit course selection.  For example, a student planning to attend a university program, but also having a strong interest in gaining hands-on experience through a technology course, may have to eliminate that practical learning opportunity.  Students also need the opportunity to study different course types depending on their desired post-secondary experience.  

Thirdly, experience indicates that limiting the number of required school transitions is preferable in supporting student engagement and achievement.

Superintendent Richard commented that as stated in the Senior Staff Report, given the present and continued enrolment decline in the secondary schools, and the program organization of ‘schools within schools’, Senior Staff has serious concerns about the capacity of a three-school organization to provide sufficient programing options for students in the regular program. To provide a timetable with a reasonable number of regular course options across the varied pathways, there needs to be ideally 700 plus students in the regular program.  Operating schools that offer a composite program is the best model to support student program choice.  The provision of composite schools also supports fewer mandatory transitions from one school to another, more flexibility in the selection of courses with less need for compromise, and a stronger sense of belonging and engagement among the students.

        Superintendent Richard commented that it has been suggested that the Board could keep all three secondary school sites operating and simply reduce the current level of administration in order for the Board to save money.  Secondary schools are very complex organizations and the school administration is responsible for a great variety of functions including: leadership and school climate, student achievement, safety and well-being, programing, school organization and staffing, professional development, staff supervision and evaluation, student supervision, student evaluation and reporting, communications and public relations, budgeting and procurement, and health, safety and plant supervision.  Senior Staff believes that an arbitrary reduction in the level of school administration would negatively and significantly impact school safety and achievement by reducing support for students, teachers and parents.

Superintendent Richard advised that Focus Area 4 is related to upgrading /renovating and expanding existing school sites.  He indicated that it has not been the experience of the Limestone District School Board that renovating is cheaper than building a new school.  Outdated operating systems, electrical systems that are inadequate for today’s technology needs, asbestos in older building materials, current building code requirements and/or access measures to meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) requirements are but some of the factors that can contribute to significant cost overruns, when renovations to significantly aging facilities are undertaken.  Superintendent Richard indicated that a number of examples are provided in the report for information.  
        Superintendent Richard indicated that other jurisdictions referred to by public input, such as those in the United States, operate under different grant funding rules and building codes than do schools in Ontario, and Senior Staff did not find them to be directly comparable.

Superintendent Richard stated that given the current funding model, the Limestone District School Board does not receive sufficient capital renewal funds annually to renovate all of its schools to an extent that would significantly decrease the future capital renewal needs of the buildings.  

Superintendent Richard advised that Focus Area 5 reports on the input received regarding a new school.  This section provides some information about the process for obtaining funding for capital projects.  He said that the first section outlines the regulation related to taxation, which school boards have not been permitted to impose for many years.  He advised that Trustees are well aware of their responsibilities in this area, so he will not read it.  He highlighted how the funding process for a new school is administered and reviewed the public input regarding borrowing costs and related charges that has been put forward on several occasions.

        Superintendent Richard stated that for the 2012-2013 budget year, the provincial government allocated major capital grants to school boards through the Capital Priorities Funding program.  It provided funding to eligible school boards to undertake major capital projects, such as the building of new schools.

        Superintendent Richard commented that the Limestone District School Board, like other Ontario school boards, must apply to the Ministry of Education for capital funding to build a new school.  School boards do not undertake any long-term borrowing to finance their Capital Priorities capital investments.  Long-term borrowing is financed by the provincial government at very competitive interest rates through the Ontario Financing Authority.  Superintendent Richard advised that the Ministry of Education also funds all of the Board’s short-term interest payments related to financing costs incurred during the building phase of any major capital projects.  He said that as such, there is no negative impact on any board of education’s local budget, as a result of undertaking major capital projects.

Superintendent Richard reported that the Ministry of Education (MOE) budgets funding for the building of new schools across the province and invites boards to apply for capital grants in order to fund their capital priorities.  The MOE reviews all of the requests submitted and, based on the strength of the needs assessment and the overall business case, approves funding for capital projects to the limit of the total funding allocated for these purposes.

Superintendent Richard referred to Focus Area 6: Closure of KCVI and Focus Area 7: Closure of QECVI.  He said that some members of the public have shared their belief that the central area of the City of Kingston is growing at a significant enough pace, as to not require the closure of any of the secondary schools in the review area.  He stated that the Senior Staff recognizes and values downtown Kingston as a vibrant residential, recreational, cultural and commercial hub.  He said that Senior Staff recognizes 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.  He said that 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.”  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 E – page 222).

Superintendent Richard reported 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 stated 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 222).  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 P.S. area. (Watson Report, Appendix E - page 222).  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 personnel at the Anna Lane Cooperative Development Corporation about the projected number of school-aged children expected 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.  

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

Superintendent Richard remarked that the Board has managed the issue of declining enrolment and costly surplus space for many years.  The introduction of French Immersion to KCVI and Focus programs to QECVI were strategies employed decades ago to fill schools that even then were in significant decline.  

Superintendent Richard stated that the closure of a school would require a significant adjustment for the communities in which they are situated.  However, communities do evolve and change over time.  The experience of past closures has taught us that new loyalties and pride develop that reflect the changing neighbourhood, the new school community, and a broader understanding of the meaning of community. Impact on the neighbourhood of a school closure may also be mitigated by the new expanded purposes or uses of the school or property, developments which the City of Kingston and community organization partners may wish to influence.  If one of the schools is selected for closure over the other, the re-purposing of the school building and site may bring new opportunities, resources and services to the community.

        Superintendent Richard stated that as well as the caring staff and fine programs, the input related to KCVI spoke to the history, architecture, facilities such as the auditorium, close proximity to Queen’s University resources, and the importance of the school to Kingston’s downtown.

        Superintendent Richard commented that the input related to QECVI tended to focus on the critical student and community services offered by the school and the attentive, compassionate staff.   Many people were convinced that the closure of the school and the re-location of the students to KCVI or LCVI would bring about an increase in the drop-out rate for students living in the north-end of Kingston.
        Superintendent Richard advised that Senior Staff recognizes the value of the input received, the seriousness and complexity of the issues at hand and the difficulty of the decision facing the Board.  He said that Senior Staff is committed to the effective implementation of any direction determined by the Board and to assisting students and their families in adapting positively to any school changes that may occur.

Superintendent Richard reviewed Focus Area 8: Module Vanier Move to Calvin Park Building.  He said that comments have been made at the PARC meetings and through input received concerning the condition of the Calvin Park Building.  This section responds to some of these concerns.

        Superintendent Richard stated that with respect to safety, the first floor of the Calvin Park building was used by École secondaire publique Mille-Îles from September 1999 through March 2012.  The school provided programs and services for students from Grades 7 to 12.  During the time that the staff and students were located in the building, the Limestone School of Community Education (LSCE) occupied the second floor.  The principal responsible for Mille-Îles during some of the time that the school resided in the Calvin Park building stated that there were no incidents reported that involved a conflict between the students and the adults.  The entrance for the adult program was separate from those used by Mille-Îles and these entrances were locked during school hours.  The locking of the doors would continue should Module Vanier relocate to the Calvin Park building, in accordance with the Safe Welcome Program recently initiated by the Ministry of Education for all elementary schools.  However, Senior Staff acknowledges the concern raised about housing Grade 7 and 8 students in the same building as adult programs and will re-examine the programs offered in the building.  We will explore all alternative centre sites and their program offerings with special attention to LSCE should Module Vanier be relocated to the first floor of the Calvin Park building.  

        Superintendent Richard commented that the move of Calvin Park P.S. to LCVI occurred in 1996, because of the decline in the enrolment at both Calvin Park P.S. and LCVI, not because of either safety or facility concerns.

        Superintendent Richard advised that the Calvin Park building would provide the Module Vanier students with more space for regular use than is available to them currently at KCVI.  There is green space available on site for student use and a full track at LCVI that could be accessed, as well as other spaces in the secondary school.

        Superintendent Richard stated that Section 8.2: Facility Conditions & Size provides a response to comments made about the Calvin Park building itself.  He said that some of the photos used in one of the presentations to the SE/SCC were of areas of the building to which students would not have access in any school, e.g. an outdated breaker panel, custodial scrub area and corrosion on plumbing piping in the basement area.  The areas occupied by the students and staff are safe and repaired as required.  The Principal of Mille-Îles and the Manager of Facility Services for Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario reported to LDSB staff that they did not experience any issues with the condition of the building.

Superintendent Richard stated that should the Board decide to relocate Module Vanier to the Calvin Park Building, Facility Services personnel will review all areas prior to occupancy by the students and staff and complete any work deemed necessary by the Board.  Work planned for completion prior to student use would likely include, but not be limited to, removing some of the partitions that divide a few classroom spaces, creating a window opening between the main office and the front hall, installing a security camera and door swipe access system, replacing ceiling tiles where needed, and some painting.  

        Superintendent Richard stated that relative to other elementary schools, the facilities within the Calvin Park building are not undersized.  The classrooms are regulation size and the gym is larger than the gym in most LDSB elementary schools and slightly larger than the gym at KCVI that Module Vanier currently uses most of the time.  Superintendent Richard indicated that the table provides information about the gym size of some of the LDSB elementary schools.

        Superintendent Richard referred to section 8.3: Alternative Location for Module Vanier.  He said that placing Module Vanier in the Calvin Park building does provide the capacity for future program growth and significant indoor and outdoor facilities.  However, in response to feedback, an alternative to relocating Module Vanier to the Calvin Park building is to place it within the same building as the secondary French Immersion Unit, as is the current arrangement.  Although the feasibility of this relocation would be dependent on the approval of significant additional capital funding from the Ministry of Education for this purpose, there are several educational advantages to maintaining both the intermediate and secondary extended and French Immersion units in the same building.  Firstly, it could eliminate the need for an additional school building transition for students.  Secondly, is the potential for increased ease of access to Extended and Immersion French programing for students living in North Kingston, should a new school be located within that community.  Core French programing at the Primary level was introduced at Frontenac P.S. and Central P.S. and will be phased in at the remaining elementary feeder schools to QECVI in the next few years.  Placing Module Vanier in a location that is more geographically accessible to students who feed into QECVI and within the same secondary school as the majority of English program students from the QECVI family of schools would attend, may increase QECVI feeder students’ participation in this beneficial language learning opportunity.

        Superintendent Richard stated that Senior Staff is confident that, should the Board decide to re-locate Module Vanier to the Calvin Park building, the students would continue to be well served in a facility where they would be exposed exclusively to French for the majority of their day, but also where there would be capacity for future growth.

Superintendent Richard reviewed Focus Area 9: All Remaining Schools.  He said that should the Board decide to close one of the schools, Senior Staff encourages the Board to embrace, to the fullest extent possible, the suggestions made during the public meeting related to the remaining schools.  The Senior Staff continues to support its recommendations from the Senior Staff Report that address some of the ideas that were presented.

•     If a new school is built, it should be a mid-size school of about 1,100 students (Senior Staff Report, Option1,1.1, page 61);
•     The two schools created provide a composite program, (Senior Staff Report, Option1,1.2, page 61 and Option 2, 2.6, page 66);
•     Walkability and transportation be considered when selecting a site for a new school (Senior Staff Report, Option 1, 1.2.2, page 62) and be reviewed when establishing new catchment areas for the two-school  model (Senior Staff Report, Option 2, 2.7, page 66);
•     Give consideration to programing enhancements through proximity to existing municipal athletic facilities and/or other artistic, recreational, cultural or educational community resources (Senior Staff Report, Option 1, 1.2.3, page 62).

        Superintendent Richard reviewed Focus Area 10: Transportation/Walkability.  He said that walkability was a high priority in the input received, especially for the students attending QECVI.  Some people identified the inability to walk to school for the QECVI students as a significant barrier to attendance.  Fortunately, all three schools are within walking distance of the majority of the students living in the city.  However, walkability and transportation will be a key area for consideration and discussion by the Board during the decision making process. Superintendent Richard stated that we would propose that appendices F and G containing information maps and tables related to walkability be analysed at a future meeting, as part of the Trustees’ deliberations.

Superintendent Richard reviewed Focus Area 11: French Immersion/Extended Programs.  He said that input was received about the provision of French Immersion programming and about a district-wide review of French Immersion.

Superintendent Richard commented that Senior staff recognizes that there are many practical, cognitive, and psychological benefits to learning languages.  Because of the travel times that result from our District’s extensive geography, and our tradition of dual track schools, the Senior Staff recognizes that the placement of all programs in specific schools, including French Immersion, must be considered within the geographic context of the specific communities served by the programs, including both English and French catchment areas.  Accordingly, within each of the program and accommodation reviews to date, the Senior Staff has addressed all special programs provided in the area, including French Immersion programs.  For example, as a part of the boundary review in Kingston West, both the French and English catchment areas of J.R. Henderson Public School were adjusted.  The accommodation review of Kingston East included consideration of the French Immersion program for the new consolidated dual track school.

        Superintendent Richard commented that on an ongoing basis, providing reasonable access to French Immersion/Extended programs and safeguarding that the enrolment is sufficiently large to ensure a robust program are critical goals.  Senior Staff weighs requested program changes against the access and enrolment needs of all programs in the district, as well as the Board’s ability to provide the appropriate teaching and learning resources, including teachers, to ensure quality programs.  As enrolment in the French Immersion program changes in any one school or across the district, Senior Staff observes the trends, discusses the provision of programs and implements changes as appropriate.  For example, in response to changing enrolment patterns in the intermediate and secondary French immersion programs in Amherstview P.S., Ernestown Secondary School, and Sydenham High School, several program location adjustments have been made over recent years.  

        Superintendent Richard reviewed section 11.1: French Immersion in Kingston East.  He stated that a request for consideration was brought forward for French Immersion at the intermediate and secondary levels to be located in Kingston east.  He indicated that Senior Staff will continue to monitor the immersion enrolment in Kingston East.  Currently, as the chart demonstrates, there is insufficient enrolment in each of grades four through eight to create populations large enough to form discrete secondary classes without multi-grade classes, and to withstand the levels of attrition that predictably occur as students move through secondary school.  He reported that should the growth trend that appears in the Primary division continue in future cohorts, staff will examine the feasibility of relocating Immersion programing at the intermediate and senior divisions to the eastern area of our district.

Superintendent Richard stated that Table 4 outlines the French Immersion Grade Enrolments at École Sir John A Macdonald Public School, and the chart demonstrates the  projected enrolment  increase in the lower primary grades.

Superintendent Richard stated that Table 5 outlines the French Immersion and Extended Program Enrolments from Kingston East attending Module Vanier, and the chart shows the current enrolment in Immersion at Vanier from Kingston East.

Superintendent Richard reviewed section 11.2: Secondary Extended/Immersion French and I.B.  He said that the Senior Staff had contemplated the shift of the Extended/Immersion French Program to LCVI with access to it for I.B. students through a blended learning approach.  As our schools modernize as centres of learning in the 21st century, we anticipate an increase in the provision of blended learning models, which use technology to learn beyond the walls of a classroom.  With such a model, the students enrolled in I.B. would have accessed the Extended/Immersion French program though such use of technology that the blended learning model provides.  Students in Immersion, who were not completing I.B., could have potentially benefitted from a multi-campus experience between our intermediate school located in the Calvin Park building and LCVI.   In reflecting further on the I.B. Program and the specific needs of the program related to languages in particular, as well as the input received, the Senior Staff recognizes the merits of keeping the I.B. and the French Immersion programs together at the same site.  Table 6 shows that the majority of students in the I.B. Program are also enrolled in the French Immersion/Extended Program.  Given the resources that the LDSB has already allocated to the I.B. program, and its success, Senior Staff proposes that the organization and staffing of the program remain intact, should the Board close KCVI.  This will ensure that there is no disruption to the offering of the I.B. program.

Superintendent Richard commented that for students studying in English and wishing an academically enriched program, we will ensure that the Challenge and Advanced Placement Programs (AP) at LCVI receive similar support to the I.B. program in terms of staff training and classroom resources.  Students will be able to choose between I.B. and A.P. as they have in the past, providing LDSB students with two centrally located schools offering a rich variety of courses that will meet the needs of diverse learners, including those wishing an academically enriched program.  As well, an expansion of the arts and information technology programs for LCVI would ensure a reasonable balance of specialized programs in both composite schools.

Superintendent Richard commented that Focus Area 12 summarizes input related to a division between North and South Kingston.  He said that the following statements from Equity and Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools… Guidelines for Policy Development and Implementation… Realizing the Promise of Diversity, 2009 highlight some of the key beliefs and focus of Senior Staff in the development of this report.

We believe that Ontario’s diversity can be its greatest asset.  To realize the promise of our diversity, we must respect and value the full range of our differences.  Providing a high-quality education for all is a key means of fostering social cohesion, based on an inclusive society where diversity is affirmed within a framework of common values that promote the well-being of all citizens.  In reaffirming the values of fairness, equity, and respect as essential principles of our publicly funded education system, the Ontario government’s equity and inclusive education strategy will help ensure that all students have the opportunities they need to fulfill their potential.” (Page 5)

“An equitable, inclusive education system is fundamental to achieving these core priorities (High levels of student achievement, Reduced gaps in student achievement, and Increased public confidence in publicly funded education)” (Page 5)

“Equity and inclusive education aims to understand, identify, address, and eliminate the biases, barriers, and power dynamics that limit students’ prospects for learning, growing, and fully contributing to society.  Barriers may be related to gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, socio-economic background, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, or other factors.” (Page 6)

Superintendent Richard indicated that Senior Staff believes that our publicly funded schools have an important role to play in building bridges and exposing all of our children, through a caring, inclusive and multi-faceted learning environment, to the valued diversity in our Canadian society.  Accordingly, the Senior Staff believes very strongly that to~nurture such environments is a worthy goal, as we seek resolution to the significant program, enrolment and fiscal issues related to the central Kingston schools.  

Superintendent Richard indicated that Focus Area 13: School Size is quite lengthy.  He said that it first provides a short excerpt from the first Senior Staff report and then addresses some suggestions that were put forward for small schools organized by theme, as have been tried in some areas in New York.  Appendix H provides information on School Size, from the first Senior Staff report.  Superintendent Richard stated that Trustees may wish to delve further into this topic at a later meeting.  Superintendent Richard stated that rather than go through this, although he certainly is prepared to if that is the wish of the Board, he would, in the interest of time, instead direct Trustees to the concluding paragraphs about school size on page 28.

Section 1.1 in the Senior Staff Report provides some information concerning school size.  It has been included in this report as Appendix H with a section from the Senior Staff Report provided below.

Much of the debate and stimulus for research has arisen from the perceived benefits of larger and smaller schools. Leithwood and Jantzi (2009, p. 464-465) summarized these contrasting perceptions.

Larger schools were perceived to offer:

·      An increased variety of classes;
·      An increased specialization of teachers;
·      A greater likelihood to draw a diverse population, thereby increasing students’ exposure to diversity;
·      More stimulating classes;
·      Less pigeonholing or stereotyping of students; and
·      Greater opportunities for students to develop social relationships.

On the other hand, smaller schools were perceived to offer:

·      Faculty and staff who know students well;
·      Faculty who take greater responsibility for student learning;
·      Increased connections between students and the community;
·      Better teaching strategies; and
·      Less need for monitoring and supervision.

Although considerable research has been done on optimal size for high schools, the results are certainly not definitive.  However, in both a three-school and a two-school model for the secondary schools in this review, the (secondary) school size would be considered small to mid-sized with the enrolment being 500 to 900 in a three-school model and 1,100 or less in the two-school model. (Pages 14 and 15)

Superintendent Richard stated that input was received at the public meeting, and some additional articles concerning small schools in New York were forwarded to the Trustees, (see Appendix I for reference information about the articles).  Some of the speakers, and information in the articles made reference to the success of small schools in New York City, which had approximately 100 students per grade.  In attempting to make comparisons between circumstances described in one situation with another setting, it is important to ensure that as closely as possible all of the factors are the same or are capable of being duplicated.
In an article by Jacqueline Ancess and David Allen (2006) about the small New York City schools, they said:

“These small schools are characterized not only by their size, typically six hundred or fewer students, but also by themes that are designed to distinguish them from one another and to attract students and parents within new systems of school choice.” (Pages 401 -402)

“Most themes fall broadly into a few academic and career categories. For example, forty-three schools have arts themes, twenty-four have science themes, fifteen business, fourteen law, fourteen technology, and eleven social studies. More specifically, theme schools exist in the areas of social justice, museums, health careers, performance assessment (such as graduation by portfolio), inquiry, military, community service, expeditionary learning, leadership, athletics, English-language learning, gender, and support for gay/bisexual/transgender students.” (Page 404)

Bloom,Thompson & Uterman (2010) wrote:

SSCs (Small Schools of Choice) are more than just small. They were authorized through a demanding competitive proposal process designed to stimulate innovative ideas for new schools by a range of stakeholders and institutions, from educators to school reform intermediary organizations. The resulting schools emphasize strong, sustained relationships between students and faculty. Each SSC also received start-up funding as well as assistance and policy protections from the district and other key players to facilitate leadership development, hiring, and implementation.” (Page iii)

In a follow-up article Bloom and Uterman (2012) pointed out that:

“In other cities, small high schools are often fashioned by reconfiguring large existing schools into smaller units in the same buildings with the same teachers and students; in contrast, the typical SSC was created largely “from scratch” with a principal, teachers, and students who were new to the school.  At the same time, many SSCs are located with other SSCs in buildings that previously housed a large public high school that was closed.” (Page 2)

Superintendent Richard remarked that what is clear in the articles about the success of the small schools of choice in New York City is that ‘small’ is only one factor among many that distinguished these schools.  Other factors included:

  • Significant non-public funding was provided for resources and staff support;
  • There was additional staffing and joint planning time provided to ensure that students had additional support and attention;
  • The students were streamed by their interest in and/or commitment to a particular theme, be it arts, science, business etc.;
  • All students must pass (65% +) on the five tests in specified subject areas (English, Mathematics, Science, Global History and Geography and US History and Government) in order to graduate with a diploma that is recognized by the New York State Board of Regents, which sets standards and regulations for all public schools.  However, the staff were given full responsibility to select, integrate and teach the curriculum that matched the theme and appealed to the students; and
  • The staff was hired for the schools based on their qualifications, interest and commitment to the theme.
Superintendent Richard stated that in the New York City schools some large schools were closed and small schools built purposefully for the theme that would be the centre of the focus of the schools.  In other situations large schools were divided into ‘schools within a school’ and focused on several different themes within one building, but the staff and students were separate and there was, on average, about 100 students per grade in each of the ‘schools within a school’.

Superintendent Richard commented that to some degree this is the situation in the secondary schools in LDSB.  With the variety of special program offerings, e.g. French Immersion, Building Construction, Theatre Complete, etc., the larger student body of the total school is subdivided into small learning units with a focus on a particular theme or program area.  In our small ‘schools within a school’, the students’ courses and teachers may be totally exclusive from that of some of the other students, while in other cases courses are shared among students from different program areas.  What is certain is that there are not 100 students per grade for each of the small ‘schools within a school’ making the continuance of some of the program themes impossible to maintain.

Superintendent Richard stated that one of the issues identified by Ancess and Allen (2006) concerning the small theme schools was the inequity of education that unintentionally resulted from this strategy.  The schools were organized so that students chose and competed for placement in the schools but the application and selection of the students did not eliminate students by income, race, ethnicity or ability.  However, the schools soon became segregated. Ancess and Allen (2006) identified that “in any system of high school competition, themes are not only attractors; they are unspoken code” (page 403)

Themes are also code for social, economic, and academic status, race, postsecondary opportunity and ambition, and peer-group composition, and they are read differently by different constituencies that have varying degrees of access and varied perspectives. Math and science themes are code for academically high-performing students, particularly boys. Career (or vocational) themes such as health or business are code for workforce orientation rather than college ambition, and in some cases preparation for entry-level, dead-end jobs for large corporations. Social justice and leadership themes are often associated with poor communities. Arts themes send mixed signals; their academic standards are seen as less demanding, but the arts themes, especially if accompanied by talent screening, confer elite status. Small, non-theme liberal arts schools that offer access to high-stakes knowledge and enrichment signal preparation for competitive colleges and a particular peer group: middle class and upwardly mobile, comprising all races, but Whites in particular. Many middle school principals and counselors have reported to us that in their conversations about high school selection with students and families, the questions, comments, and preferences of middle-class parents demonstrate knowledge of the code, in contrast to many members of typically marginalized groups.

Although advocates for small high schools hope that themes and choice can integrate schools by race, class, and achievement level, interest in a theme is but one criterion students and their families use to select a school. Of equal and in some cases more importance are peer-group composition, school and neighborhood safety, school reputation, transportation, and family need. A number of middle school teachers and counselors tell us that for immigrant families, particularly where English is not their native language and economic stress exists, the priority is often proximity to home rather than interest in a theme. These families may depend on older children to care for younger ones.” (Page 409)

Although the ‘themed small schools by choice’ appear to have helped some students many were left behind unable for a variety of reasons to join the chosen group.

        Superintendent Richard commented that Senior Staff remains committed to fostering composite schools of sufficient size to offer a full range of courses for all program pathways and fully supports the statement that “Each teenager has his or her own unique interests, goals and strengths. Yet, every student should have the same opportunity to succeed and graduate from high school...  We share a common goal — to help all students build a promising future for themselves.” (Ontario Ministry of Education; Student Success/Learning to 18)

Superintendent Richard stated that it should be noted that currently secondary school enrolment in the Limestone DSB, and indeed in most school boards across Ontario, is projected to continue to decline until about 2020. The enrolment figures and projections used in the PARC Report reflect 2010-11 data and in this report the predicted school sizes of the Limestone secondary schools are based on 2011-12 data.  Enrolment has continued its annual decline as the review has progressed.  This means that we now can predict that the average size of the Central Kingston secondary schools following consolidation would be approximately 850-1100 by 2016, further allaying any fears regarding the construction of a “mega” or “super” school.

Superintendent Richard commented that the final paragraphs of this section relates to international students.  Some public communication pointed to increasing the number of international students recruited as a strategy to bolster enrolment in the three secondary schools. Superintendent Richard advised that as stated in the Senior Staff Report, the Limestone District School Board actively recruits international students.

Superintendent Richard stated that the Board annually reviews the intake of international students and the recruitment of homestay families is an on-going process.  Senior Staff is very open to discussing possible partnerships with other organizations to increase, over time, the number of international students in the secondary schools.  However, except for the enrichment of the school culture, the increase in the number of international students would make no substantive change to the enrolment in any particular school.

Superintendent Richard stated that Focus Area 14 reports on the Accommodation Review Process itself.  He said that the Senior Staff acknowledges that the accommodation review process is a challenging multi-phase procedure that demands a significant amount of time, energy, patience and commitment from parents, students, community members, Trustees and staff.  He said that 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.  Superintendent Richard stated that Senior Staff appreciates the feedback received from the community in regards to the Accommodation Review Process and will provide it to the Board to help inform any future accommodation policy revisions.

Superintendent Richard stated that a number of suggestions for the Board to consider were put forward and summarized in Focus area 15.  He said that the recommendations for consideration will be reviewed by the Board during the deliberation and decision-making process, as well as in future planning for the schools and communities of the Board.  He said that responses are provided for some of the main areas for consideration.
Superintendent Richard stated that one suggestion was that the Board construct residential buildings on the school sites, noting that staff have given this a great deal of consideration.  He said that it should first be noted that this area of consideration does not purport to address the enrolment and program issues that are central to~this review, but~rather~aims at addressing the significant operational and capital funding shortfalls.  

Superintendent Richard stated that various suggestions and designs have come forward, and one real estate development company has indicated interest in leasing property surrounding one or more secondary schools in the review area for the construction of residential units, either for habitation by the general public or for use by graduate or undergraduate university students. Some of the proposed designs are attached as Appendix J to the report.

Superintendent Richard advised that developers willing to consider the construction and management of residential units on a school site would require either a long term lease, e.g. 50 years, or would possibly pay a one-time capital fee up front based on the present value of all future payments.  For example, during one of the presentations related to the possible long term leasing of school board properties, the presenters proposed that the Board could receive up to $175,000 per year for a 50-year lease of the property surrounding KCVI.  A similar arrangement for the LCVI property could yield approximately $25,000 annually on a long-term lease.  For the QECVI property, a long-term lease arrangement for residential units may also be possible, but likely would result in minimal revenue for the Board.  He indicated that the above leasing rate amounts are approximate and only a formal tendering process would yield specific long-term leasing revenue amounts.

Superintendent Richard indicated that the closing of KCVI would result in a minimum of $1.22 million in annual operating savings over that same period of time.  In weighing the leasing revenue that potentially could be received from a developer(s), against the closing of a school (which includes ongoing annual operating savings, potential one-time capital renewal liability savings and one-time capital funds received from sale of a site), the school closure option results in a far greater financial gain for the Board.  Superintendent Richard reviewed Table 7, which provides a comparison of approximate savings from developing land around a school and the closing of a school site.

Superintendent Richard commented that Senior Staff~has concerns about removing proportions of the green space from around any operating schools.  The long-term leasing of property surrounding an operating~school also precludes any opportunity for future additions to the schools, if such were required.

Superintendent Richard stated that residential units in the immediate proximity of schools can present some safety and security concerns, particularly without any degree of separation between them, given schools would exert no control over private residences.  While the QECVI and LCVI properties may provide some space for residential units, the KCVI property is relatively small and any form of practical separation from the school building would be difficult to achieve.  As well, if there was a shared underground parking area, security for students would be a concern.

Superintendent Richard commented that while residential units near schools would provide revenue, they would not address program issues or declining enrolment.  As well, Trustees will need to balance the needs for revenues with the value of green space on school board property and consider the potential safety and security concerns for students and staff within the very different environment this change would create.

Superintendent Richard stated that the possibility that a long-term lease for a severed section of one or more of schools, or for a decommissioned school, could generate funds to support improvements to the remaining area schools, including possibly funding the~addition of an auditorium in a new or existing school, has great appeal.  He said that for that reason the Senior Staff believes the Trustees may wish to consider aspects of this proposal. Viability would depend on the confirmation of a developer to formally engage in such a project and on the willingness of the Government of Ontario to approve a school board venturing into such an arrangement.  Should the Board have such interest, Trustees may wish to direct staff to extend a request for proposals to ascertain commercial developers’ or other organizations’ commitment regarding residential construction on the sites.

Superintendent Richard referred to section 15.2: Combine all of the Secondary Students into One Site.  He said that combining all of the secondary students into one site and moving all of the Grade 7 and 8 students to another site would require the dissemination of almost all Focus Programs, as well as numerous other district programs, to secondary schools outside of the review area, reducing efficient accessibility for students and significantly increasing their travel time.   Moreover, many of these programs require unique and dedicated classroom space, which would impact on facility renovations in multiple sites.  As well, Senior Staff believes that having only one school in the Central Kingston review area would not provide enough flexibility for possible future growth or the inclusion, in the school, of community partnership arrangements that benefit the students and the community.

Superintendent Richard referred to section 15.3: Closing and Selling the Calvin Park Building.  He said that the Calvin Park building presently houses the Limestone School of Community Education and the central based Board employees working in the Educational Services Department.  The Board could continue to house some or all of these functions in the Calvin Park building location, or move them to other under-utilized buildings and relocate students to this building or close and sell the property.  However, this still clearly does not address the program issue for the three secondary schools.  As well, with the closing of the Calvin Park building the estimated annual operating budget savings is $89,000, compared to $1,223,061 for KCVI and $978,000 for QECVI.

Superintendent Richard stated that section 15.4 reviews statistics provided in the first Senior Staff report related to the costs and revenue from closing this Education Centre.  He said that as outlined in section 3.7, page 41 of the Senior Staff Report:

The office space needed is approximately 32,000 sq. plus about 17,232 square feet for the maintenance shop and Board vehicle parking.  Re-locating the Limestone District School Board business office to QECVI would involve renovating the school to create appropriate office space and increased parking, leasing space for the maintenance shop, making changes needed to create two more classroom spaces for QECVI and would cost approximately $9,000,000.

The cost of renovation would not be offset by the sale of the Board office property, which was appraised at $3,600,000.”

        Superintendent Richard stated that moving the Board office to an underutilized school may be a possible use of excess space but the cost of renovations to provide necessary warehouse and repair facilities, a variety of office and meeting spaces, upgrades to electrical systems to accommodate the equipment needs in the offices and the ventilation and heating system changes to adequately serve the newly structured spaces is not offset by the estimated sale price of the current Education Centre.  Furthermore, the program issue arising from insufficient regular program students in each of the schools would not be solved.

        Superintendent Richard reviewed Section 15.5: History and Tradition.  He said that the
City of Kingston is rich with history and the Senior Staff wishes to be respectful of the unique community heritage symbolized by our schools.  Queen Elizabeth Collegiate and Vocational Institute is 57 years old, and named after the reigning Monarch.  Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute is currently in its fourth location and its name has changed over time, but it has been a venerable educational institution in Kingston for over 200 years.  KCVI is the oldest public secondary school in Ontario and the second oldest in Canada.

Superintendent Richard stated that the Senior Staff believes it is important that history and tradition be honoured in any decisions made.  However, the Senior Staff is also cognizant of the great value of diverse student populations unifying in a location that is new to all students, and that speaks to their common future.  The Senior Staff believes that should decisions related to school consolidation be made, it will be important for the School Integration Committee and the Trustees to balance these two considerations.

Superintendent Richard stated that a number of questions have been asked about the alternative programs in the area.  He said that the Board currently expends a total of $186,429 for the leasing of sites for Street Smart and Second Chance.  These offsite programs provide alternatives to regular high school programs for approximately 55 adults over the age of 21 and 255 students under the age of 21.  The Limestone School of Community Education (LSCE) is located on the second floor of the former Calvin Park building and offers a wide variety of credit and non-credit alternative education programs.

Superintendent Richard stated that as well as meeting a wide variety of on-going educational needs of adult students, who may have been out of school for several years, the centres provide programs and services for students who are still of high school age.   These students often face complex challenges in their lives and the alternative setting is of key importance in supporting them in their successful completion of a secondary school diploma.  These students most often flourish within an alternative educational environment separate in style and location from the secondary schools they have left.

Superintendent Richard stated that leasing a non-school space is often more economical than hosting these programs in a decommissioned school that may be in poor condition, and require extensive interventions in order to achieve full accessibility.  Furthermore, the culture of each of these sites is intentionally distinct to meet slightly different program mandates.  For example, Street Smart was designed to meet the needs of 16-21 year-olds who are often living in shelters or other downtown locations, whereas LSCE is geared predominately for adult learners who wish to obtain their secondary school diploma while training for specific employment.  For these reasons, having different locations has benefited the current vision of alternative education within our district.

Superintendent Richard stated that, however, as the needs of our students change, and as our overall enrolment declines, the Senior Staff is committed to exploring alternatives to our multiple lease arrangements and alternative centre delivery model, in order to improve program effectiveness and increase cost efficiency.  He reported that a review of the Alternative Programs, which is already in progress, is not intended to drive the Board’s program and accommodation review decisions.  He indicated that rather the Senior Staff believes that the accommodation decisions for Kingston North and Central Kingston will influence staff choices around alternative program locations.  He said that we will look at all of the alternative centre sites and their program offerings with special attention to LSCE should Module Vanier be relocated to the first floor of the Calvin Park building.  Changes may include the relocation of some of the LSCE programs.

        Superintendent Richard indicated the above-noted information concludes his presentation of the body of the Senior Staff Follow-up Report, and that Director Hunter would now present the recommendations contained in the Senior Staff Follow-up Report.

        Director Hunter publicly acknowledged Accommodation Facilitator Bailey, who worked closely with Senior Staff and the PARC members, for the work she did in this project.

Director Hunter reviewed the recommendations, as follows:

The Senior Staff deliberation concerning the recommendations to the Limestone District School Board regarding the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools accommodation review has been lengthy, and involved thoughtful analysis and extensive consideration by all members of the team.

In a perfect world, there would be sufficient numbers of students and funding available to maintain all of Ontario's urban schools with comprehensive program choices for students. However, this option is rendered unrealistic due to the following:

•     smaller and declining student populations, leading to insufficient numbers to provide composite programing;
•     undersized school sites;
•     aging buildings, which are cost prohibitive to repair;
•     current government regulations and standards; and
•     limited financial resources.

Accordingly, Senior Staff must be cognizant of what is in the best long-term interests of all Limestone District School Board’s students.  This requires 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.

        Given the information in the PARC Report, input from the community, information from the most recent public meeting, 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 options.  It is understood that during the decision making process the Trustees may also choose to consider the option put forward in the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary PARC Report and the ones outlined in the November 22, 2012 Senior Staff Report, or any other option that the Board deems appropriate.

Recommendations – Part 1:

That the Limestone District School Board:

1.1.    Apply to the Ministry of Education for funding to build a new mid-size composite secondary and intermediate school (capacity of approximately 1100 secondary students and 160 elementary students) on a site to be determined, that is as equidistant as possible between the current KCVI and QECVI locations.
        1.1.1   That in honour of the history of KCVI and QECVI, the School Integration Committee be requested to consider the adoption of their names or partial names for the new school, and/or areas of the new school.
        1.1.2   That the new composite school design include spaces that would facilitate the provision of a full range of course offerings in all pathways;
        1.1.3   That where possible, architectural features from  KCVI and QECVI be included in the new school building, as well as important memorabilia;
        1.1.4   That the design for the new school include a theatre space (similar to the Earl Street Theatre) and make use of existing resources as possible, e.g. chairs, curtains;
        1.1.5   That the present KCVI and QECVI buildings be closed as schools; and
        1.1.6   That the current QECVI and/or KCVI sites, if not required by the Board for other purposes, be considered for repurposing as community hubs or multi-purpose complexes through partnerships or lease or sale arrangements.

1.2     Consult with the City of Kingston and other organizations as appropriate to determine a site for the new composite school. (See Appendix G for a map and table with information on walkability to sites the Board may wish to consider)
1.2.1   The new site be as equidistant as possible between the present locations of KCVI and QECVI;
1.2.2   Consideration of walkability by the students be included in the selection of a site for the new school; and
1.2.3   Consideration for programing enhancements with proximity to existing municipal athletic facilities and/or other artistic, recreational, cultural or educational community resources be included.

1.3     Include the following school and programs in the new school:
1.3.1   Module Vanier (Should the funding for the inclusion of Module Vanier in the building not be forthcoming, Module Vanier would be relocated to the first floor of the Calvin Park building);
1.3.2   The secondary French Immersion and Extended French programs; and
1.3.3   The International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Program (there should be no disruption to the program).

1.4     Foster a vibrant composite program with additional focus on Advanced Placement, arts and information technology at LCVI by:
1.4.1   Maintaining Calvin Park P.S. in LCVI;
1.4.2   Maintaining the Advanced Placement (AP) Program at LCVI; and
1.4.3   Building an addition on the school for an auditorium.

1.5     Review and distribute the Focus and SHSM programs between LCVI and the new school, with consideration to creating two composite schools and develop a plan for transitioning the programs such as the Radio Broadcast Journalism, Guitar Building, Theatre Complete, Upholstery, etc.  This review and plan to be completed by Senior Staff in consultation with all secondary school principals, as is our practice, with a report to the Trustees through the Education and Human Resources Committee.

1.6     Develop community hubs, as possible, in or adjacent to the new school and LCVI, as well as on the remaining decommissioned sites, through outreach to community partners already using space in the buildings, as well as potential new partners including but not limited to the Kingston Community Health Centre, Queen’s University Department of Family Medicine and the City of Kingston.

1.7     Following the receipt of funding and the determination of the site for the new school, establish the new catchment boundaries for the new school and LCVI:

1.7.1   Ensure that each elementary school in the review area corresponds only to one secondary school;
1.7.2   Review and maximize the walkability to the schools, as reasonable;
1.7.3   Review the transportation of the secondary students;
1.7.4   Consult with the elementary feeder schools, where re-location of the destination secondary school may be changed due to the closure of its current secondary school; and
1.7.5   Determine the boundaries and organization that are most equitable, financially feasible, and reasonable.

Transition Planning and Timing of Proposed Changes

The Staff has been informed that the Ministry of Education plans to conduct a capital funding application process in May 2013, with decisions possibly forthcoming in November.  To date this process has been annual, although the Senior Staff acknowledges that the timing of the process could change without notice, due to a variety of factors beyond local control.
The Senior Staff recommends that the implementation of any transition occurs no earlier than September 2015.  To avoid needless disruption, the transfer of all programs to their new sites would not occur until a final decision has been implemented.  To be clear, if funding is requested and received for a new school, current programs will be maintained in their current location until the completion of the new school, estimated to be September 2016 at the earliest, and 2017 at the latest.

Notwithstanding the above, Principals and Senior Program Staff are currently exploring support strategies to ensure appropriate programing for students in the interim, through collaborative timetabling and exploration of such possibilities as e-learning, blended learning, student transfers and exchanges, and cross-campus shuttle service.

Should No Funding Be Received:

Should the Board not receive any indication of funding for the construction of a new school by early to mid-2014, Senior Staff is compelled to recommend the consolidation of students to form a two-school option based on the following factors:

  • •     the continuing decline in secondary student enrolment;
  • •     prohibitive capital and operational costs associated with keeping all three schools open; and
  • •     the commitment to the creation of academically heterogeneous student populations of sufficient size to enable the provision of all program pathways in all schools.
LCVI was removed as a possibility for closure due to its greater student capacity, variety and types of instructional spaces, proximity to the Calvin Park building, level of accessibility and large outdoor recreation areas.

As articulated in the previous Senior Staff Report, the Senior Staff found it extremely difficult to develop a recommendation regarding which of QECVI and KCVI should be recommended for closure and which should be retained as the consolidating site.  It remains the case that the choice of which school to close in the event no funding is received is dependent on how the factors are prioritized.  Again, as stated in the introduction to these recommendations, the Senior Staff has focused on the educational factor of ensuring access to all program pathways in each school for all students and believes that a heterogeneous composite school is the model which will best support the success of our students.  However, recognizing that the Trustees face a complex situation with a number of factors to be considered, the Senior Staff presents the following summary and analysis to support the Board’s decision-making with respect to the consolidation of students into two existing secondary schools.

Director Hunter indicated that Trustees will explore Table 8 further.  She said that one common feature of both QECVI and KCVI is the outstanding teachers, administrators and support staff who work with wonderful students every day to ensure their success.

Director Hunter stated that as can be seen from Table 9, of the regular secondary students registered at KCVI on October 31, 2011, (excluding over 21 years old, French Immersion/Extended, I.B., Focus Programs and Street Smart) 342 of them attend from outside the assigned KCVI catchment area. This represents approximately 63% of the 543 regular program students attending KCVI. Of the 342 students, 78 are from the QECVI catchment area, and 84 are from the LCVI catchment area.  Approximately 180 regular program students live outside of the catchment areas for KCVI, QECVI and LCVI.   Table 10 shows the home schools of the students who attend KCVI.

Director Hunter stated that as can be seen in Table 10, of the 325 regular program students attending QECVI in 2011-12 (excluding Second Chance and Focus Programs), approximately 49 students were from outside the QECVI catchment area with 12 of those coming from the LCVI catchment area.

Director Hunter stated that historically, anecdotal data has indicated that other area schools receive a significant number of requests from QECVI students to attend those schools. In 2011-12, 78 students from QECVI attended the English program at KCVI and 61 students attended LCVI from the QECVI catchment area.

Director Hunter indicated that it is very possible that the majority of the regular program QECVI catchment area students currently attending KCVI would return to their home school should more academic programs be offered, and that the I.B. program and French Immersion programs inside QECVI would attract students.  However, the Senior Staff remains concerned that if KCVI is closed many of the 264 regular program students (total 342-78 QECVI) from other catchment areas currently attending the regular English program at KCVI may choose to return to their own catchment area school or another nearby heterogeneous composite home school, rather than attend QECVI.  This could occur because other schools may be more conveniently located than QECVI for parents working in the downtown area and who transport their children to school, as well as because course offerings would generally be the same.  This would not be a problem for the LDSB home schools; there is space and they are welcome.  However, the loss of a significant number of students would make it impossible to achieve a regular program student population large enough to enable all program pathways to be offered at QECVI, a key consideration for Senior Staff in creating a composite school with a diverse peer group and a culture of high expectations for all learners.

Director Hunter stated that Senior Staff acknowledges that although past enrolment patterns support the Senior Staff’s conclusion, it is not possible to provide irrefutable data to support or refute our concern about the closure of KCVI.

Concern For the Attendance of QECVI Students if QECVI is Closed:

Following the presentation of the Senior Staff report on November 22, 2012, and during and after the public meeting of January 15, 2013, concern has been widely communicated that if QECVI students had to travel by bus to a school outside their neighbourhood or “the North end’, some would either refuse to attend a school with a different social profile, or would miss the school bus due to sibling caretaking responsibilities or other reasons.  The concern has been put forward that these barriers would result in QECVI students failing to attend and graduate.
The Senior Staff’s goal for all QECVI students is not only for them to graduate from secondary school, but for their development to be shaped by a diverse educational and social context, in order that they be successful in post-secondary education and future employment destinations, as well as confident contributing citizens in a global society.  Interacting socially and academically within a diverse student body would enrich the development of skills and confidence required for success in post-secondary education and the world of work.   

That many students have made the decision to engage in a broader educational context is evidenced by the 236 students, who live in the QECVI catchment area and who in 2011-12 attended a secondary school other than QECVI.  Should the Board decide to place the remaining students from QECVI into KCVI and LCVI, the Senior Staff is committed to ensuring that all QECVI students are supported in their transitions.  We also believe that the student success teams at our secondary schools have developed a wide repertoire of strategies to mitigate attendance, transition and integration challenges that may occur for some students.  A variety of transportation modes will be explored including school buses and Kingston Transit.

The Senior Staff has absolutely no willingness to put the present or future of any students at risk.  The Senior Staff’s recommendation to create a consolidated composite school is largely designed to provide all students in the area with a comprehensive array of program opportunities in all pathways, a rich learning environment with a culture of high expectations and a diverse peer group in order to promote their personal growth and achievement, and extend their opportunities.  The Senior Staff is committed to providing all supports necessary, including the hiring of a transition leader to oversee student needs.  We have confidence in our students’ capacity, with the support of staff, parents and others, to benefit from a changed school location and a diverse learning environment.

However, we respect the concerns that have been raised by others through the recent consultation process.  Because of the nature of the concern, it is not possible to provide data or experience trends to definitely prove or refute the concern that has arisen for the welfare of the students at QECVI.  Our commitment is to provide individualized support to the 337 students, who currently attend QECVI and live in QECVI’s catchment area.

Recommendations – Part 2:
Should no funding for the construction of a new school be indicated by early to mid-2014, the Senior Staff recommends the following option for consideration by the Limestone District School Board:

That the Limestone District School Board:

2.1     Consolidate the secondary students from KCVI, LCVI and QECVI into two schools.

2.2     Retain LCVI as a composite secondary school with additional focus on Advanced Placement, arts and information technology programs.

2.3     Close one of KCVI or QECVI as a secondary school.

2.4     If either KCVI or QECVI (whichever is closed) is not required by the Board for other purposes, that it be considered for repurposing as a community hub or multi-purpose complex through partnerships or lease or sale arrangements.

2.5     Locate:

        2.5.1   Module Vanier on the first floor of the former Calvin Park building;
        2.5.2   The secondary French Immersion/Extended programs along with the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Program at the remaining school (KCVI or QECVI);
        2.5.3   Calvin Park P.S. at LCVI; and
        2.5.4   The Advanced Placement (AP) Program at LCVI.

2.6     Review and distribute the Focus and SHSM programs, with consideration to creating two composite schools and develop a plan for transitioning the programs.  This review and plan to be completed by Senior Staff in consultation with all of the school principals, as is our practice, with a report to the Trustees through the Education and Human Resources Committee.

2.7             Should KCVI close, construct an auditorium as an addition to LCVI, using funding received from partnerships.

2.8             When establishing the new catchment boundaries for the two schools:
                2.8.1           Ensure that each elementary school in the review area corresponds only to one secondary school;
                2.8.2           Review and maximize the walkability to the schools, as reasonable;
                2.8.3           Review the transportation of the secondary students;
                2.8.4           Consult with the elementary feeder schools, where re-location of the destination secondary school will be changed due to the closure of the current secondary school; and
                2.8.5           etermine the boundaries and organization that are most financially feasible, reasonable and desirable.

2.9     Develop community hubs, as possible, in or adjacent to the secondary schools through outreach to community partners already using space in the buildings, as well as partners such as the Kingston Community Health Centre, Queen’s University Department of Family Medicine and the City of Kingston.

Transition Planning and Timing of Proposed Changes

If no indication of funding is received by early to mid-2014, and the Board has directed the consolidation of students into two secondary schools and the transfer of Module Vanier students into the Calvin Park building, the changes would be implemented with a comprehensive transition process for September 2015 or 2016.  

Notwithstanding the above, Principals and Senior Program Staff are currently exploring    support strategies to ensure appropriate programing for students in the interim, through collaborative timetabling and exploration of such possibilities as e-learning, blended learning, student transfers and exchanges, and cross-campus shuttle service.

        Director Hunter reviewed the additional recommendations, as follows:

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

1.      If no funding for the construction of a new school is acquired, that funds be sought for the renovation of LCVI, the Calvin Park building and the remaining secondary school through applications for applicable grants and through exploration of business partnership arrangements.

2.      Coordinated timetables and pilots of alternate forms of instruction for the 21st century, such as blended learning, be designed and implemented for September 2014 to facilitate students wishing to take courses unavailable at their own sites.

3.      Supports, such as a Transitions Co-ordinator and other resources and strategies (including the engagement of Pathways to Education staff), be available to assist students in the integration process prior to and during the first year of the implementation of the Board’s final decision.

4.      Strategies continue to be implemented, in consultation with school principals, to support access and parental engagement in school life, with particular emphasis on those parents whose children are moving to a new school.

5.      Following a decision to decommission a school in the review area, the Board extend a request for proposals to ascertain the commitment of developers regarding residential construction on the school sites.

6.      Following a final decision of the Board, that an Expression of Interest be issued to solicit any potential partners wishing to pursue a co-location or joint co-construction opportunity involving the new school and/or remaining schools.

        Director Hunter indicated that her presentation of the recommendations is now concluded.

        Vice-Chair French thanked Superintendent Richard and Director Hunter for presenting the above-noted information.

        Vice-Chair French stated that Trustees could now ask clarification questions.

        Trustee Jackson asked that if the one major difference between the Senior Staff Report and the Senior Staff Follow-up Report is that if no funding is received, then Senior Staff have not recommended in the Senior Staff Follow-up Report whether KCVI or QECVI should be closed.  Director Hunter indicated that is correct.

        Trustee Chadwick referred to page 32 with regard to the annual operating budget savings of $89,000 for the Calvin Park building, and asked if we could have more information on what that number really represents.

        Superintendent Richard stated that the $89,000 mentioned is the estimated annual operating budget savings, if the Calvin Park building was closed.  He said that most of the savings would be for heating and lighting costs, as that building is not operating as a full school.  He said that if that building was a full school and it was decommissioned, the savings would be much greater.

        Trustee Chadwick clarified her question asking what that number would be if Calvin Park was an operating school.

        Trustee Chadwick advised that at a Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools Program and Accommodation Review Committee meeting, Superintendent Labrie presented a report to the Central PARC one evening in regards to programming at the three schools and how it is planned with respect to addressing student needs in the different streams.  She said that the three Trustees on the PARC had the benefit of hearing the presentation, and asked if it would be possible for Superintendent Labrie to provide this information at a future SE/SCC Committee of the Whole Board meeting for the benefit of her fellow Trustees.

        Director Hunter indicated that Superintendent Labrie could again provide information about the staffing process to address student needs.

        Trustee Chadwick stated that there is reference in the report to an issue with moving Focus programs because of the unique and dedicated space that they occupy.  She asked if information could be provided on the specialized space in each of the schools that has been developed for Focus programs.

        Director Hunter indicated that information related to space requirements for Focus programs would be provided at a future SE/SCC Committee of the Whole Board meeting.

        Trustee Jackson referred to page 33, section 15.6: Alternative School Site Leases, noting that the Board expends a total of $186,429 for the leasing of sites for Street Smart and Second Chance.  He stated that if this amount is capitalized over time, it would be larger.  He indicated that perhaps an analysis on leasing vs. buying be provided.

        There were no more questions.

        MOVED BY Trustee Chadwick, seconded by Trustee Crawford, that the Central Kingston Intermediate & Secondary Schools Senior Staff Follow-up Report, be received.–Carried

        Vice-Chair French stated that before we recess into Private Session, for a brief item on an unrelated matter, she would like to thank everyone again for attending tonight’s meeting and for their interest, belief and pride in our public education system.  She indicated that the next meeting of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board will be held on Thursday, March 21, 2013, at 6:00 p.m., at the Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.

Recess to Private Session

        MOVED BY Trustee Beavis, seconded by Trustee Brown, that the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board recess at 7:45 p.m. for ten minutes to reconvene in Private Session at 7:55 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 7:55 p.m.—Carried

Partnership with Queen’s University

        Director Hunter reported on the work in progress toward a partnership between the Board and Queen’s University related to International Education.

Fraser Institute Report

        The Director commented on an article that appeared in The Kingston Whig-Standard regarding the Fraser Institute Report and a school.

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

MOVED BY Trustee Ruttan, seconded by Trustee Goodfellow, that the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board rise and report and that the resolution of the School Enrolment/School Capacity Committee of the Whole Board, noted above, be a resolution of the Board and made public.–Carried


MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, seconded by Trustee Crawford, that the meeting adjourn at 8:25 p.m.–Carried