All the new school construction is taking place outside Burlington; what kind of a community is that going to leave us with?

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

February 5, 2015


The anticipated discussion around the letter Karen Lacroix of the Halton Student Transportation Services consortium sent to the Halton District School Board got a couple of minutes discussion before it was shuffled off to the Transportation Committee where Burlington trustee Andrea Grebenc will do her best to come up with some of the answers to the question Lacroix asked.

Kelly Amos

Halton District School Board chair Kelly Amos brought up the idea of later start times for high school students. Will it get any traction?

Board Chair Kelly Amos put out the idea of later starting times for high school students who apparently don’t function all that well before 9:00 am.

Rather than having a full board discussion on the issues raised by Lacroix, they refereed the discussion to the transportation committee which will meet on Monday February 9th. Should be an interesting meeting. Not sure if the transportation committee is going to be able to fully address all the issues presented by Lacroix.

School boundaries:
While the Toronto school board is incurring the wrath of the provincial government for budgetary problems and is faced with the problem of how many schools it should close, the Halton School Board seems to run like a well oiled machine where defining new school boundaries takes up much of the time.

With two new schools scheduled to open for the upcoming school year, one in northeast Oakville and the other in southwest Milton, the superintendents took the board through the process of arranging school boundaries for the new schools.
In Oakville, with eight parents representing the community, the Boundary Review Committee held a total of six community meetings and at one time had a total of 22 boundary change scenarios which they eventually narrowed to one recommendation.

The new school located north of Dundas and to the east of Neyagawa, would alleviate the overcrowding of nearby schools River Oakes and Sunningdale. This would require some students crossing Dundas Street. This created a number of trustee questions and comments.

MMW + Leah Reynolds

Ward 2 Burlington Councillor Marianne Meed Ward with school board trustee Leah Reynolds on the right share a laugh during a nomination meeting last fall. Is Reynolds developing her political skills as a possible city council candidate in 2018 when Meed Ward is expected to run for Mayor?

Oakville trustee Oliver, a proponent of neighbourhood schools and observing natural boundaries questioned why children would be crossing Dundas Street . Burlington trustees Andrea Grebenc and trustee Harvey-Hope of Oakville wanted assurance that students would not need to cross a six lane road and that busing would be available.
Burlington trustee Leah Reynolds questioned if public input was sufficient. Superintendent of Education, Julie Hunt Gibbons, assured the trustees that the committee has made a strong rationale recommendation that best balances enrollment in the three schools that are affected. She also added that another possible five schools could be anticipated in the near future.

The same thought process and community participation was also evident for the new school in Milton. For all three current schools, PL Robertson, Anne J. McArthur and Tiger Jeet Singh, the current accommodation will be somewhat alleviated this year. This committee met four times with the public and narrowed 18 scenarios to one. The current boom in housing is expected to result in an additional new school by 2017.

Much of the balance of the meeting was reviewing an update Closing the Gap report which identified and ranked which schools would receive up to $10 million in upgrades for Information Technology equipment, library services, special education rooms, specialty classrooms and air conditioning for the second and third floors in both elementary and secondary schools.

Plans for new schools in the Region don’t include Burlington – do they.  This city is building high end retirement homes for Seniors and looking for ways to attract those high tech, high paying jobs everyone wants.  Burlington did however get the complex in Alton that is made up of a high school, a public library and a recreational centre – all of which are heavily used.

Related articles:

Changing bus schedules for later high school start times: more questions than answers.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.