Possible high school closings - Parents want their questions answered - hundreds are very unhappy.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 6th, 2017



It was a fully engaged crowd at the first public meeting held at Hayden high school where parents got to see just what the high school closing options were.

Engaged parents

The parents who attended the first public meeting at Hayden high school last week were fully engaged in trying to figure out and understand what the options for possible school closing were.  They don’t like the way the information is being made available and they want to be able to ask questions.


Last October the Board of education trustees accepted a report from the Director of Education and agreed that a Program Accommod-ation Review should take place.

That resulted in a committee (PARC) looking at the staff recommendation that Central and Pearson high schools be closed and accepting other possible options.

The PARC looked at 30 options and whittled the list down to the six that are now being taken to public meetings.

The second public meeting takes place at the New Street Education centre – it is going to be noisy.

Parents in front of maps

The Board of Education staff put up large posters setting out the boundaries that would apply to the various school closing options. Parents found that the staff members on hand to answer questions didn’t have much in the way of answers.

Comments from Gazette readers tell us that “many, many people (as in hundreds) are extremely dissatisfied with the way the so-called public information sessions are being held, specifically the display stations that were set up.”

“Parents want their questions answered, many have complained that staff at the last meeting were not able to do this properly. Every single member of PARC has asked that the format be changed to include a large group Q and A and they have refused.

“Their pathetic excuse is that the last meeting was with display stations and it wouldn’t be fair to the people who went to that one to change this one.

“Again, like so many answers coming from the board, this makes no sense.”

“Angry parents from Central, Nelson and Bateman are planning different tactics to have their voices heard at tomorrow’s meeting. Not sure how it’s going to play out but I think there might be fireworks.”

PAR HDSB Parents at Bateman

This was the extent of public participation at Bateman high school when the Board of Education gave an overview of the school closing process. Everyone thought that Central and Pearson high schools were on the list. Truth was – every high school was at risk.

Getting to the point where the Board of Education now has public interest has taken some time – earlier meetings at all seven high schools were very quiet and very poorly attended events.

That isn’t the case today – and parents want their Board of Education to respond to their demands.

The elected trustees are close to mute on this – they have the power to direct Board of Education staff to make changes in the way the public is informed – it is almost as if the trustees are in the pocket of the Director of Education.

The high school parents are not happy campers.

Central high school parents will be walking from the Roseland Plaza to the New Street education Centre. Nelson, Bateman and Pearson high schools are also reported to have plans.

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