Grebenc on Bateman: why she went along with the vote to close the high school.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 10th, 2017



Burlington Ward 3 and 6 Halton District school Board trustee Andrea Grebenc released a statement on her Facebook page setting out why she voted the way she chose to vote at the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday when trustees decided to approve the recommendation to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Andrea Grebenc in conversation with Director of Education Stuart Miller

“It has been a tough few months” she said “and I know many of you are upset with the outcome of the Program Accommodation Review (PAR). I wanted to let you know that I explored a number of options myself and I was willing to go down the road with respect to a dual campus/one school concept and getting community partners to help fill space in the school.

“I could see the Bateman campus as a truly vibrant community hub. I believe in community hubs and schools should be an integral part of them. I think in this day and age, few people even know their neighbours, therefore providing gathering spaces to provide a true sense of community is important.

“The special education students at Bateman would have had the opportunity to integrate even more with a broader community setting. The north has three community centres. South East Burlington has one community room along with scattered amenities (pools, ice rinks, stadium and park). I believe community hubs should be cradle-to-grave types of places with programming for pre-natal and pre-school, through school ages, youth, adult and seniors programming.

“I took information provided to me from your community and spoke directly with administrators at two dual campus schools in the west. Both schools had similarities and differences to the Nelson/Bateman situation. The administrators were frank about the experience. It wasn’t a perfect solution, it took extra work, but both schools were successful.

“Unfortunately, my colleagues could not see this happening. Community partners were not forthcoming which was the linchpin to make this work. They would take up the On the Ground capacity to make financial sense. I was hoping the city would have stepped up during the final weeks with some possibilities as they are a natural partner and have partnered with us in the past(Hayden/Haber/Alton Library and Kilbride/Public library and community room).

Bateman - crowd scene

Bateman high school parents demonstrate to save their high school – it wasn’t enough to change six minds.

“When Trustee Collard’s substitute motion about exploring dual campuses failed, I had to support a closure. As I mentioned during statements later in the meeting with regards to Pearson, my research informed me that schools need 1000 students to provide students decent course choices and extracurricular experiences. Without putting Nelson into the same lower enrollment state, Bateman needed to close.

“I care about the students in special education placements residing at Bateman. I promise to hold the Director accountable in his statements that situation at Nelson will be better for those students than what they have now at Bateman and that special care is take with each student transition. It is my duty to make it so and my commitment to the community.”

Bateman high school is scheduled to close in September of 2020.


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3 comments to Grebenc on Bateman: why she went along with the vote to close the high school.

  • Sharon

    There were delegations that were proof that this was a bad decision. Letters to the trustees with data. Community innovative, all sorts of ideas came from the community how to keep Bateman open. The trustees chose not to listen to the people that matter the most the students. I hope they all remember our Joelles and Zoes. The hardest part of this to swallow for me is I trusted my own children’s education with the Halton School Board. They don’t give a damn about our kids. All they care about is the mighty dollar. The Trustees disgust me. Elected to their seats they are supposed to be the voices of the people that live in their wards. The only one that advocated for her people was Amy Collard. Well Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills now you know how your Trustees vote in school closures. DISGUSTING!!!!!!!

  • Deb

    Not one trustee “had” to support a closure. We, as a community, offered up many alternate solutions to closures. Looking into these solutions would have taken time and hard work. As a community we were willing to put in the time and the hard work. Too bad our trustees and our school board were not as committed as we were. We have taken a different view than the director and his yes-men and women. We believe that ALL students in Burlington matter and they are worth the time and effort it may take to figure out a way to make it work. We will continue to fight for this as these kids are worth it.

  • George

    This article makes me think of Julius Caesar’s phrase “Et tu Brute?” derived from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” when he saw Brutus among the conspirators.