School board staff recommend keeping five local sites open
Davisville, Eglinton, Hodgson, Maurice Cody, Spectrum should stay alive
Trustees make final decision June 23
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier May 27.)
While other communities struggle with the prospect of school closures, parents in Davisville and Leaside can expect to see expanded programming.
School board staff has agreed with all the recommendations put forth by the Davisville school review committee.
The review focused on how best to accommodate students at Davisville/Metropolitan Toronto School for the Deaf, Eglinton, Hodgson and Maurice Cody public schools and Spectrum Alternative School without losing services.
“We came out of this with some real goodies,” said school trustee Josh Matlow.
As it stands, staff is recommending that Spectrum Alternative be considered for relocation from Eglinton PS to Davisville PS. If approved by the board, it could happen for Sept. 2011.
Also in the recommendation is ensuring the viability of both English and French programs at Eglinton and Davisville schools, and possibly relocating grade 7-8 extended French from Hodgson to Davisville.
A new playground will be built for Eglinton PS regardless of board approvals, with money coming from fundraising and the school board.
Additional special education programs will also be considered for local schools.
Earlier in the review process — which began in October — there were fears Davisville PS would be recommended for closure and the land sold for redevelopment.
That did not materialize.
During the school board staff’s May 18 presentation, several people asked that the documentation be changed to reflect the fact the closure of Davisville was not the reason for the accommodation review committee.
“Davisville was never seriously considered for closure,” Matlow said.
Despite the angst that accompanied the process, the community gained something for all the schools in the end, the trustee said.
School board trustees will vote June 23 on all accommodation review committee and staff recommendations.
Is it wise to close half empty schools to free up money now or keep them open when more people and children repopulate the area?
Trustee Josh Matlow’s twitter on May 31 regarding the vote at school board’s P&P committee meeting that night was:
“Planning & Priorities doesn’t support Davisville ARC due to a lack of info from TDSB Staff. Coming to board on June 23 & I expect approval”
The school board’s Planning and Priorities meeting May 31 ended with votes AGAINST the Davisville ARC and staff recommendations to expand programming at 5 local schools.
I was at a St. Paul’s ward forum tonight (June 3) where the issue came up. Trustee Matlow said he expects the recommendations to be supported when it goes to full board of trustees June 23.
If it doesn’t pass, it will mean status quo. So all five schools still stay open but improvements won’t necessarily happen without a positive vote June 23.