DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The Durham District School Board is once again looking at the possibility of closing Epsom Public School.
At a special board meeting on Monday, April 4, trustees voted in favour of re-establishing an accommodation review committee to look at four Scugog schools. As well as Epsom, the review will look at Greenbank P.S., S.A. Cawker P.S. and Prince Albert P.S. as well. A recommendation by board staff is that Epsom P.S. would close in June of 2017 and the students would be moved to Greenbank P.S. and Prince Albert P.S. Some grade 7 and 8 S.A. Cawker students who live in the Epsom border would also move to Prince Albert P.S.
The school board had previously been reviewing the possibility of closing the school in January 2015, but disbanded the committee in early June due to the local teacher strike, stating they did not have sufficient time to review.
A staff report cites low enrollment, as well as concerns with the building, such as the lack of a gymnasium, the undersized library, as well as the fact that it doesn’t have any “purpose built Kindergarten classrooms” or “specialty-built classrooms” as challenges to keeping the site open.
Despite having a capacity for approximately 81 students, Epsom P.S. has been operating with 32 students in 2014 and 38 in 2015. Epsom Public School is currently the oldest school that the board has in use.
The review process will include about 8 working meetings and three public meetings. The first public meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 17 at Greenbank P.S. The next public session will be held on Wednesday, June 8 at S.A. Cawker P.S. and the last session will be held at Prince Albert P.S. on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Every meeting will run from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. A final report will then be posted on the school board’s web-site at www.ddsb.ca on Thursday, Oct. 6.
There will then be an opportunity for input from the community at the board’s Standing Committee meeting on Monday, Nov. 7. The final decision will be made on Monday, Nov. 21.
For more information, visit the school board’s web-site or find them on Twitter at @DurhamDSB.
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