Central High School parents are going to ask school board trustees to slow down the process that could result in the closing of the school - They want to get it right and need more time to complete their homework.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2016



You knew before the meeting was over that this was a group of parents who were going to think through the situation they faced very thoroughly and present a case for keeping the community school.


They packed the room.

There were well over 80 people (some set the number at close to 100) packed into a room at Wellington Square United Church to figure out what they wanted to do about the Halton District school Board decision to hold a PAR.

A PAR is a Program Accommodation Review which is a look that the board has to take when the amount of available space in a school falls below 65%

A PAR – to address enrollment, empty/overfull space and programs offered – is needed for Burlington secondary schools claim the parent group – but the conditions needed to hold a PAR are not yet in place.
In its report Board of Education staff found a number of school that were below or very very close to that 65% number and they produced a report that set out 19 option. The options were related to various schools in Burlington.


There are just too many empty seats at Central High.


The utilization percentages are good – bu the sea available are in the wrong schools.


The parents group covered everything – and then some.

The parents did their homework – the looked at the facts and they came to the conclusion that while there might be a need for a PAR – this was not the time to proceed.

The Board for its part produced an exhaustive report – we are talking inches thick here and it takes time to go through the details and then measure them against what the parents know and experience.
The letter was signed off on by Michael Kukhta and Dania Thurman who were speaking on behalf of the Burlington Central Strong Community Group).

Michael had run for school board trustee before Dania is new to the game but keep an eye on this woman. She is a force to be reckoned with.

In a letter to the school board trustees this group of parents from Burlington central high school said:

At the Halton District Board of Education (HDSB) Board of Trustees meeting on 19 October 2016, you will be deciding on a motion to approve beginning the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process.

In this letter, we will outline why we urge you delay the start of the process by tabling the motion until numerous issues are addressed. This request is made in order to ensure the integrity of the PAR process and to ensure that accurate and productive recommendations can be made to the Board of Trustees at the conclusion of the PAR process.

It appears to be clear that a PAR is needed, but also clear that the conditions to start it now, 19 October 2016, have not been met. It is crucial that many issues in the Halton District School Board’s (the “Board”) PAR process and Director’s Preliminary Report on the PAR (#16132) be clarified and clearly understood before proceeding with the PAR process. There are also many concerns with data and the Board’s new and untried PAR process that should be addressed.

Summary of Concerns:

1) A PAR is needed, but conditions to initiate the PAR at tomorrow’s (October 19th) meeting have not been met;

2) The Board’s new and untested PAR process has critical errors and confounding steps;

3) Significant segments of data are incomplete, missing or inaccurate;

4) The nineteen (19) Alternate solutions offered do not consistently compare conditions and issues creating unfair and confusing conclusions and inferences.

Very compelling details, supporting data and information about each of these Concerns are detailed below in Appendices. (They are voluminous and will be set out in detail on the web site when it is fully operational.

The Gazette will publish that data later in the week.

Our volunteer and dedicated community group has worked very hard to pull this letter and information together in a short time frame. There are, no doubt, challenges and questions with the conclusions we have made; however, we have only had a week to look at this.

Nevertheless, we have discovered and documented many issues that will jeopardize the PAR until they are understood and corrected. We look forward to continue working together with you and the board to be as informative, objective and accurate in providing productive discussion, analysis and recommendations to assist you in making the best decisions possible.

Decisions to close schools and realign boundaries will have long-lasting and profound effects on the community. Let’s get it right. Mistakes could be costly and cause delays in implementation. The Board’s process is fast: 5-7 months from approval and launch to recommendation to and ultimately approval by the Board of Trustees.

There is insufficient time once the process starts, to research, fix and present new data to the PAR Committee. A delay in the process will allow the constituencies affected – indeed, the students and entire community of Burlington – to catch up with the process and truly feel engaged and respected as valued stakeholders.

Trustees - Sams - Reynolds - Collard

From the right Burlington trustees Amy Collard and Leah Reynolds – two of the four.

We urge you to table the approval of the PAR process until all of the issues and concerns are clearly articulated, the data and information understood and the process robust and transparent.

Will the trustees listen? The four from Burlington can be expected to do so. But there are 11 trustees and they all get a vote on this.

It will be an interesting Board of Education meeting this evening.

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