DAN CEARNS The Standard
BROCK: The Durham District School Board is investigating the possibility of closing Thorah Central Public School and having a new school erected in the Township of Brock.
On Monday, Oct. 17th, the Board of Trustees approved a modified accommodation review to look at Thorah Central and Beaverton Public School.
The initial staff report, shown to the board, recommends the closure of Thorah Central, relocating students to a school on the Beaverton P.S. site. This would be a new school, built in front of the current Beaverton Public School.
“This is certainly a situation where we are looking to invest in this community,” Trustee for Brock and Uxbridge Elinor Hansen said. “Ballpark, it would be a $10 million new school. This process is looking at what is best for the students, and we are looking for community feedback, and we will be providing the public with education.”
What makes this review different from ones the board has conducted in the past is, there will be no review committee set up, and there will also be a reduced timeline for the review. Trustee Hansen told The Standard the board chose a modified review because “the amalgamation is dependent on two things.” One of those is the support of the community, and the other is financial approval from the Ministry of Education.
According to the report, in 2015/16, Thorah Central P.S. had 119 students in Grades one to eight. This works out to an average of 14.88 students per grade level, which is “well below the Board average of 22.33.” The report also states, the school has undersized, and not purpose built, kindergarten rooms, and an undersized library and gymnasium. There are also no music, art or environmental studies rooms at the school, according to the staff report.
However, if the community is not in support of the closure and consolidation, there is a second option in the report that would see both schools remain open, and continue to operate in the status quo.
If the closure and consolidation options are approved, the new school would, reportedly, take two years after the board receives funding approval from the ministry to be built. In the mean time, both schools would remain open while construction occurs. Trustee Hansen said the ministry only opens up windows for applications at certain times during the year, and added it could take about four to five months after the application is submitted to receive approval.
There will be a public meeting at Beaverton Public School on Tuesday, Dec. 13th, at 7 p.m. The final report will be posted on the board’s website, at www.ddsb.ca, on Tuesday, Jan. 10th, and there will be opportunities for public delegations at the Monday, Feb. 6th meeting of the Standing Committee. People can also submit their opinions or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can call 905-666-5109 or 1-800-339-6913.
The final decision is scheduled to be made by the board on Tuesday, Feb. 21st.
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