Parents at Lester B. Pearson are worried - many don't like what M.M. Robinson offers - the Catholic school board might benefit.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 21, 2016



For the parents at Lester B. Pearson high school the thought of their school closing is a tough one.
Many parents wanted their children to attend a small school and moved into the neighbourhood for just that reason.

Some talk about actually moving out of the community or “we will send our kids to St. John”, which is the local Catholic school.

Another parents, who asked not to be identified said she did not want her kids “going to the pharmacy”, which was code for a school with a drug problem.

Richell Papin - finngers down

Trustee Richelle Papin

During the Board of Education discussion about Lester B. Pearson (LBP) trustee Richelle Papin talked about the Nursery Program in the school that has been in place for more than forty years that has become a model and a training ground for students from Mohawk who expect to work in the child care field.

The Halton District School Board is acutely aware that they face a serious situation where, as Director of Education Stuart Miller put it – “Students will begin voting with their feet and we will lose even more students”.
All the feelings and concerns don’t change the facts – Burlington has too much high school capacity. There are 1800 high school student seats that the Board can’t fill.

Yes, there is some intensification taking place but condominiums are being built and they tend not to house families with several children. Add to that – the population growth has been north of the QEW and the high school capacity is south of the QEW.

The Board of Education staff set out 19 possible options – and recommended what is referred to as option 19 – which proposes that:

• Close Lester B. Pearson HS, and redirect students to M.M. Robinson HS
• Close Burlington Central HS and redirect students to Aldershot HS and Nelson HS
• Change Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS boundary and programming.

Hayden High school, Burlington's newest built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park across the street.

Hayden High school, Burlington’s newest already has portable classrooms and spotty WiFi service as well.

This recommendation is not a final decision of the Board of Trustees, but a starting point for consultation.

Stuart Miller, Director of Education said: “I want to stress that the recommended option is the starting point for the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process.” “With feedback from the public, and the research and work of the PAR committee, a different solution could arise as a result of this process.”

Initial information sessions will be held to provide communities with further information about the PAR process and rationale for why the Board is undertaking a PAR for Burlington secondary schools. These sessions will be ‘information only’. There will be no question and answer opportunity at these initial sessions.

There is a massive amount of data and detail the public will need to think through the alternatives.


Parents looking over the agenda for a Board of Education meeting.

Parents are now in the process of setting up what will be called PARC (Program Accommodation Review Committees) that will work through everything and give the Board of Trustees their recommendations.

It is the Board of Trustees that will make the final decision – however, whatever decision they make has to comply with provincial government guidelines and the cold hard fact is that – there are too many spaces south of the QEW and not enough north of the QEW.

The Hayden High school that hasn’t been open for three years already has portables set up – and worse – the WiFI service is “spotty”.

Trustees - fill board +

The people you elected as trustees are going to have to work with parents groups to come up with solutions that satisfy as many people as possible. It is going to be a busy year for everyone.

The really positive upside is that the parents who have surfaced and are facing the challenge are a bright, energetic bunch of people –they are going to come forward with a solution.

It is the parents that are going to make the difference.

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2 comments to Parents at Lester B. Pearson are worried – many don’t like what M.M. Robinson offers – the Catholic school board might benefit.

  • Hans

    …..Another thought: it looks like the new Alton West Sundial development advertised in today’s Burlington Post is about to add a very large number of new homes at the north-west corner of Walker’s Line and Dundas St. That will no doubt result in a large number of new students in the Hayden/Pearson area. It would be prudent to see the effect before making any decision to close Pearson.

  • Hans

    Re: “Change Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS boundary and programming” – that should be option #1. There is no apparent cost involved. I see students being bused to Hayden so perhaps those buses could be redirected to Pearson? And maybe the portables would not be needed then?

    Furthermore, the cyclical demographic changes on the horizon in the Pearson orbit suggest that, in the next 10 to 20 years, there will be significant numbers of additional students. Unlike industry, schools should not target capacity utilization of 100%; i.e., the slack capacity of 1800 students in the system is significantly overstated.

    Let’s take the route that leaves the best options open.