SCUGOG: The Durham Catholic District School Board has started a process that could potentially see two of their schools consolidate.
At a recent board meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a pupil accommodation review process for Immaculate Conception Catholic School and Good Shepherd Catholic School in Port Perry. According to an initial staff report shown to the board, both schools are operating at a utilization rate of below 60 per cent, and both have seen declining enrolment in recent years. Immaculate Conception has a total of 90 students and Good Shepherd has 98 students. The report states that consolidation could come into effect as early as September, depending on where the provincially mandated process goes.
Trustee of Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock Kathy LeFort said that there are several factors the board will have to consider before they can make a decision.
"Both schools are operating below capacity. The decision for the board of trustees is, is consolidating the schools the right decision? And if so, which school is more viable?” she said.
The initial staff report recommends that Good Shepherd would be the best option of the two to stay open, mentioning that it has a greater capacity, is more compliant with accessibility standards and that they have operating child care facilities on site.
As part of the process, there will be a public meeting held on Wednesday, March 9th at 7 p.m. in Good Shepherd Catholic School. Following that, there will be a final report posted on the board’s website on Friday, Apr. 1 and then public delegations to the board of trustees at 650 Rossland Rd. West in Oshawa on Tuesday, Apr. 19 at 7 p.m. A decision will be made by the board at a special meeting being held on Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Ms. LeFort encourages everyone to get informed and voice their opinion to the board at the public meeting.
"Everyone is welcome to come, hear the presentation and get all of the information,” she said. "Parents want the best for their children and we welcome all input.”
As well, there will be a dedicated e-mail address for those who have questions at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as a phone line at 905-576-6150 ext. 8000.
Ms. LeFort said that some of the positives for students of a potential consolidation is the chance to meet more friends and to have more programming. She also added that the board must make a decision that makes financial sense.
“We have to be fiscally responsible as a board of trustees. If we have two schools that are operating at low capacity, we have to look at that, consider the issue and make sure we make a decision that is fiscally responsible."