Administrative Review of the process used to determine whether or not to close two Burlington begins this evening; PARC members take part in a private meeting.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

November 22, 2017



The Notice of Meeting was sent to Scott Podrebarac chair of the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) and to members of the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC).

It was sent on behalf of Margaret Wilson, Ministry of Education appointed Reviewer of the Burlington PAR

The language was stiff and stilted bit it did set out clearly what was going to happen.

Liz Sandals and Margaret Wilson

Liz Sandals.ember of the Wynne government cabinet introduces Margaret Wilson.

“Margaret Wilson has been appointed by the Minister of Education to examine the Burlington PARC process relative to the Halton District School Board Program Accommodation Review (PAR) policy.

“Ms Wilson has been charged with the responsibility to review the process and has no authority to change the decision of the trustees of the Halton District School Board

“The purpose of this communication is to provide the details of the private PAR committee members meeting which is to take place, Wednesday, November 22, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Lockhart Room, New Street Education Centre.”

The Agenda starts with an introduction to the PAR process that will be given by Margaret Wilson followed by the introduction of the 14 members of the PAR committee members.

That is followed by feedback from the PAR committee members that will include brief remarks from each of the PAR committee members related to the PARC process – three minutes per presentation.
Then there is open discussion

The session ends with closing remarks from Margaret Wilson.

Neither media nor the public will be present at this meeting as it is private to members of the PARC.

On Thursday, the 23rd and on Tuesday the 28th parents from the schools get their chance to tell Wilson what they thought of the PAR process.

PARC with options on the walls

PAR committee members in one of the seven public sessions they participated in – they were never able to reach a consensus.

Time slots will be set aside for a spokesperson from the two schools that are scheduled to close; parents from any high school in the city are permitted to speak at these two meetings. Each speaker has three minutes to speak.

The presentation from the Bateman and Pearson high school parents get 10 minutes to make their point.
Wilson will not want to hear how unfair the decision to close a school might have been – she is there to review the process – did the HDSB follow the policy that was in place?

HDSB Parents at PARC 1 Jan 26-17

HDSB parents at PARC meeting looking less than impressed.

This is a very difficult for many parents to get their heads around – they are arguing that it is the process that was faulty to begin with.

Board of Education staff were not forgotten in this process. Ms Wilson met with all the Superintendents to set out for them their role in the review process. She explained to them what they can do and what they cannot do.
Ms Wilson will have gone over literally every piece of information. She will meet with the Chair of the PAR.

Miller prep at Central

HDSB Director of Education at one of the many public meetings he took [part in.

Stuart Miller got a call from the Ministry of Education that gave him his marching orders. The Review is a Ministry of Education initiative that came about when parents from Robert Bateman high school and Lester B. Pearson high school requested an Administrative Review of the process that was used.

The role of the Board of Education – both staff and trustees is to step aside and let the Review take place.
A number of school boards across the province requested Administrative Reviews – the Halton Board schools were the only ones that got a positive response.

There are all kinds of theories floating around the community.

Many feel that the Ministry now realizes that the procedure they put in place for the school boards to follow was flawed and as a result of the realization the Ministry ordered the no new PAR’s be put in place.

Will the Wilson report touch on that point or will she write a report that says the Board followed the rules – can she say that the rules were less than fair and couldn’t result in a fair decision?

Will the Ministry realize that their guide lines – regulations were flawed and first change them and then direct the school boards to hold new PAR’s?


From the left: Trustees Papin, Reynolds, Ehl Harris and Grebenc observing one of the public meetings.

Where do the trustees fit into all this? They are the elected leaders of the Board – they set policy and decide where a school is to be built and where a school is to be closed.

Those who paid close attention to the way the HDSB handled the issue quickly came to the conclusion that the Halton Board trustees were not up to the job.

Would a second PAR be under the same procedures that didn’t work the first time?

While Burlington works its way through the Review – the province looks months ahead to June when there will be a provincial election. If the public elects a new government and makes Patrick Brown the Premier expect a significantly different set of education policies to be put in place.

The Pearson and Bateman high school parent groups are taking much different approaches to the Review process. Pearson is using a data approach while the Bateman parents are using a human rights approach.

There was a time when the two parent groups worked together but that didn’t last very long. Now there are reported rifts between the parents in the Bateman group. Some describe the Bateman parent leadership as “obsessed”.

The better observers seem to be coming around to the view that the process was indeed flawed and that the Ministry of Education has admitted as much.

Choosing Margaret Wilson as the Reviewer for the HDSB situation and the consultant who wrote a stinging report on practices and procedures at the Toronto Board of Education, suggests to these observers that she will ferret out all the concerns and give the Ministry as report that will allow them to revise the PAR process.

Steve Armstrong + Cheryl deLught - Pearson

Pearson parents at a Board of Education meeting.

Will that result in a decision to have the Halton District School Board to do a second PAR? And how long will that take – and what will happen to the work being done now to integrate the Pearson students into M.M. Robinson.

Pearson is scheduled to be closed in June of 2018.

Interesting times ahead.

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3 comments to Administrative Review of the process used to determine whether or not to close two Burlington begins this evening; PARC members take part in a private meeting.

  • Steve Atkinson

    CORRECTION: Pearson closes June 2018 if HDSB and Trustees get their way. The suggested grandfathering to allow Graduation in 2019 was not allowed by HDSB for Pearson nor requested by Trustees. All PAR in Ontario are now paused, by order of Minister of Education, due to flawed process, except for Burlington.

  • Concerned resident

    What should be analyzed as well is the role of Student representatives within the process. We heard the adults, taxpayers, superintendents and politicians. But what about our students. The ones who will directly suffer the consequences of PAR. PARC should have been composed of students and yet by my information, only one was allowed to present under the direction of Director Miller. Where did they go and why were they silenced.

  • Hans

    If a new PAR is ordered – and it most certainly should be – it should be administered by an objective and professional third party instead of HDSB staff.