Public school board proposes closing Morrisburg P.S. and Seaway D.H.S.

School board trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board will be discussing a proposed plan to realign schools due to declining enrolment in the past decade.

Titled “Building for the Future Pupil Accommodation Review,” the proposed plan outlines a slate of closures and relocations affecting students in South Dundas.

Under the proposed plan, Seaway District High School, Morrisburg Public School and Iroquois Public School would all close on June 30, 2017. Secondary school students in South Dundas who live north of Highway 401 would be moved to North Dundas District High School near Winchester starting September 2017.

Students who live south of the 401 would attend South Grenville District High School in Prescott starting September 2017.

Elementary school students from Morrisburg Public and Iroquois Public would relocate to the vacant Seaway DHS building  while the Iroquois school building undergoes “substantial renovations.”

In Cardinal, Benson Public School would also close on June 30, 2017, with students being relocated to South Edwardsburgh Public School.

Rothwell-Osnabruck in Ingleside will also be affected. Grades 7-12 from R-O would move to a secondary school in Cornwall. The plan cites declining enrolment in both the secondary and elementary school levels as the reason for these proposed changes.

The UCDSB has a surplus in classrooms across the board, with aging infrastructure. The current funding formula from the Ontario Ministry of Education is based on the number of students enrolled full and part-time in schools.

According to Jeff McMillan, chair of the UCDSB, schools are listed in the proposal due to declining enrolment and high maintenance costs.

“There is simply a lot of panic out there. Right now, our meeting isn’t about deciding which schools to close. It’s about the trustees looking at the information to decide if they wish to engage in the process.”

The board document states that the provincial funding model “favours the consolidation of schools to demonstrate optimal levels of enrolment and efficient use of school space”.

If the proposed plan is approved at the September 28th meeting, the recommendations will go through a public review period before the final decision is made at the March 23, 2017 board meeting.

Should the proposal be passed, a planned session concerning the changes is scheduled for October 20th at Tagwi Secondary School in Avonmore.

McMillan encourages parents to provide input to the board as they move through the decision making process. The board will have a link on their website for feedback.

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