Reaction begins to set in: parent writes a 21 point letter on what she heard at the school board meeting.

highschoolsBy Dianne Miller

APRIL 28th, 2017


The reaction begins: parent Dianne Miller write about her experience at the meeting where Director of Education Stuart Miller reports to the trustees.

After attending a rally for two schools (I have a teenager at each of the proposed school closure sites) prior to the meeting last night I went from a feeling of wow – so many care – to wondering if it is remembered that two schools are up for closure.

I apologize for the length of this letter, I hope you will take the time to read it.

For three hours, a group of parents, students, and community members, sat and listened both to Stuart Miller trying to defend the most expensive option that he is recommending and to the school trustees who had a chance to ask many, many questions. Kudos to some of the trustees. It was obvious some had read the proposal; reflected; made notes; had very pointed questions; were there to challenge the proposal; hear rational arguments; present alternatives; defend the school they were representing (if up for closure). The difference in those fighting for their school and those who were not was striking.

I have to respond to some things that I heard last night that were in obvious conflict or were not addressed for myself.

1) A gentleman sitting beside Mr. Miller (to his left for those sitting in the community section) (Dom Renzalla) responded to why Kilbride students had been removed from LBP and redirected to Frank J. Hayden High School.

The rationale…it didn’t make sense for them to pass by two schools. Really? Then what justification was reached to have Orchard students “pass by” LBP to head to Nelson and/or Bateman? What justification was utilized to take two new northern community developments (one already decided in a boundary review (prior to the PARC process completion) and another slated to MMR in the Director’s proposal) to pass by LBP (the closer school) to head to MM Robinson?

2) The focus in response to the only question Trustee Papin seemed to ask related to defending LBP related to the decreasing numbers. The response – Kilbride students were only about 80 students (it was closer to 120) and wouldn’t stop the declining numbers. No but ignoring the fact that Hayden was originally meant to have 4 feeder schools but now has 7 feeder school while Pearson has 1.5 feeder schools definitely is relevant. So too is the decision to have the two new developments go to MMR (passing by LBP). A further 2 other proposed developments north of the highway has also been ignored.

No matter what facts/logic that has been put forth – i.e. 1284 of the 1800 empty spaces are south of the highway; 3 years of overcrowding at Frank J. Hayden (that’s okay, we will monitor); and the fact that both MMR and LBP can be the solution to that overcrowding, have all been roundly ignored.

3) Splitting cohorts – this seems to change depending on the situation and which school is being discussed. So the ideal is no splitting of cohorts? Well, C.H. Norton is split to 1/2 to MMR and 1/2 to LBP. No problem. Gifted program – oh well, no problem, in the proposal, with splitting even though already low numbers in this stream that needs to be back-filled. The new development – nope – it cannot go to LBP because then you might have to split the English and French cohort – no can do. Not sure how that decision why reached? Why did they have to be split – given “LBP’s declining numbers” both English and French were able to be accommodated at LBP. Frank J. Hayden – French Immersion – sure no problem – let’s move them from the student body at Hayden and re-route to MMR. Robert Bateman – no problem in tearing apart the different cohorts and splitting between multiple schools. Central, once under consideration for closure, presented the argument that the cohorts would be split (i.e. to Aldershot and to Nelson and suddenly that wasn’t okay. It is convenient how there is an issue with cohorts until it doesn’t suit the narrative being spun.

4) Late French Immersion (LBP) and French Immersion. I haven’t heard the difference addressed once. So, LBP’s Late French Immersion program is going to move to MMR? How is that stream going to work with the FI group that has worked in that stream from Grade 1? Normally one needs to get permission to switch over or needs to be at a level to integrate with the FI stream from Late French immersion. So how is this going to be dealt with? Doesn’t this then exacerbate conflicts?

5) Nursery Co-op at LBP. This item/group has been given little to no thought. LBP was adapted to include accommodation for the Nursery Co-op. A third gym was added with city and community donations. This program has been here for 40 years. Zero mention/zero consideration. Apparently though, per the report, no adaptation is needed with the LBP move. See you later Nursery Co-op program. The “we will have to consider” etc. what to do with this group is not reassuring. Given that you will throw all schools into over capacity, what responsibility will you possibly feel to accommodate this amazing co-op win/win program that has flourished at LBP?

6) The most expensive option. MMR and Bateman from what I understand, have both undergone some adaptations for special needs programming. This costs money. Now we will wipe out one school and all of the money put into those adaptations (including the industrialized kitchen, which is no where else) and replicate them at Nelson. How in any way, shape or form is this showing fiscal responsibility? As a taxpayer I was appalled to hear Mr. Miller state, “12 million dollars may seem like a lot but”. No, stop after the but. It is a lot of money. It is duplicate money when Bateman already has those features. It is sheer irresponsibility on behalf of this board to even consider an addition to Nelson while closing Bateman which already has those features. The justification of having one fully adapted location in the South and North does not warrant this expenditure. You see, it is already in the south. Spend the funds if you want it at MMR only to upgrade.

7) We heard a lot about we cannot remain at status quo. Boundary change will not fix the problem. Let’s address the status quo. So, Aldershot gets to remain at status quo in the Director’s current proposal. Hayden remains at status quo (minus the FI students). The red herring for Aldershot is that it might become a theme school (which the Director mentioned in his report and at the start of the meeting). This plan was then diminished by Stuart Miller himself as probably not workable (as it hasn’t worked in other areas) half way through the night. So why the game? Why the red herring that one is even going to look at this if you are already determining it is going to fail?

Status quo – you have left LBP at status quo (under-utilization) and Hayden at status quo (over-utilization) for 3 years while robbing students in both of a rich, full educational experience.

Re the boundary change – yes, indeed it will address some of the problems. LBP can absolutely be a solution to Hayden’s overcrowding as can MMR. All three schools can become more equitable with boundary change. Add into that the 4 potential new developments and you can definitely have a 3-way win.

Question – if the 90% capacity goal for each school isn’t working – perhaps the 90% goal is in error to begin with. Has anyone ever checked this underlying assumption/premise? Why not 85 or 80%?

8) Closing schools is very short term thinking. Looking at your past projections/reports you were off in those numbers. What is to say you are not going to be off in these projections? Once the land is gone, it is gone. I heard a trustee ask last night about other options. Why have they not been pursued 100%? When I spoke with Eleanor McMahon’s office, they too brought up other options prior to closure. Why is the Director determined to close not one but two schools prior to full exploration of all of these other options and funding available (again as mentioned to me by Eleanor McMahon’s office)?

9) As a community member with a student at LBP, I was disheartened to say the least that no one seemed to care about this school’s potential closure or the impact on the students/community. It was like one school’s closure only was being debated. Does no one care? Why is it so easy or accepted that LBP should close? The perception by the community is this has been planned. That has never been denied. Why will no one stand up, at the board level or trustee level for this group of students? They deserve every bit as much consideration as those at Bateman or elsewhere. By standing up for them I do not mean gutting their school and moving them elsewhere (if that is your response).

10) Questions were not answered last night. The “we’ll wait and see”; “we’ll monitor”; “that is a possibility”; “we will see how this plays out or levels out” inspired zero confidence. Why would anyone put their faith in a report that gave these responses as their answers when challenged?

11) I would love to see the minutes of the meetings leading up to the decision to build Frank J. Hayden High school. I am sure one point included that the community was “growing” and that a “community school” was needed. But you see each community believes the same. While this point keeps being dismissed as this is in the past and we are here now, who gets to be held accountable for spending $32 million for a build that caused the current problem? That decision is going to result in two other schools being axed. This is acceptable how? It also brings into question why the public or even the Minister of Education should trust the current recommendations.

12) A question was asked (and not answered) as to what is an acceptable level of over-capacity. The current reality at Frank J. Hayden (with the we will monitor attitude) is:

Students have classes in the hallway, in the cafeteria and in the community library next door

There are 12 portables currently on site – potentially 18 in the future

A lie was told last night about how students are maybe in the portable for one class then in the school. That is not true. Some students want to leave Hayden as their whole school career has been spent in portables only.

If Hayden is at over-capacity why is it still accepting new students; why is it actively recruiting students for sports teams from other schools?

Surely this is a fire hazard.

The solution to the over capacity – rezoning of the parking bylaws. Really? So the community (for the parks, library, school) are going to fight it out for parking spaces to accommodate potentially 18 portables? More fire hydrants? Yet you have a school (LBP) which has room for expansion without these issues. Yet, zero consideration is given to this obvious solution.

13) In perhaps the height of insensitivity, given the divisive and emotional nature of this process, I cannot believe that the issue of potentially building yet another shiny new school in the south (meaning even more schools south of the hwy would close) came up last night. Seriously, someone really needs to rethink why they are in the position they are in and who votes them in. This is in the student’s best interests how? What happened to, “we are not here to close schools, no one wants to do this.”?

14) Even given all of the proposals some of the streams still may not be where they need to be. Wasn’t that was this process was supposed to be partly about (as well as under-utilization)? May I submit that just looking at programming in and of itself without giving weighting to:
a) ability to participate in sports teams b) clubs c) single lunches (preferred by school admin) d) graduating with those you began Gr 9 with e) being known by your teachers and fellow students f) safety/bullying issues g) social issues – i.e. anxiety, integration, etc. for some all need to be considered.

Take off the narrow focused blinders. Saying that those other issues, or even special needs considerations violates the spirit of the a) under-utilization and b) programming which triggered the PAR is operating in a vacuum. You cannot just look at two facets. Again, to do so, does not take into account a 360 perspective and full interests of the student. It checks a box. It meets a rigid criteria. It is a self imposed rule that is very narrow in its’ thinking.

15) No one has ever answered this question for me. Is the board for or against online courses and other means of learning (i.e. virtual learning)? Throughout this process and in the surveys it was used as a negative and to justify conflicts, lack of options for programs etc. Yet, a gentleman, from the board, spoke last night about how it is increasing, how some prefer it, how they have increased it in younger grades – this made it sound like a positive. Which is it? Are we to presume it will be done away with once we have reach maximum capacity of streams since it is being utilized to point to course conflicts and a justification for moving pupils around?

16) Busing. Never addressed satisfactorily in this process. We already have a problem. The assumption is that the students from LBP all live 1.9 km from MMR. Not true. So what happens then? More busing? Gifted students split -north/south – busing for them? The Director hedged re northern busing for the gifted students. Not okay. This is an on-going cost. Makes no sense.

17) One consideration that was totally brushed off was parents indicating (or students) that to stay at their school, with their friends, they would drop out of French Immersion (Hayden). The Director didn’t give much weight to this. Parents I know, who’s children would go to MMR should LBP close as recommended, already have their paperwork and decision made to move to the Catholic school board system. Those in the gifted program, who have been together since Gr 1-8 (and who are slated to be split) – well, the attraction per the Director is that they would prefer to be closer to their home/community and save 10-20 minutes. Sir, with all due respect you do not know the students. Their friends, not the 10-20 minutes, are their priority. To the parents – the Fraser Report data, the reputation of their current school (over another), their need to keep their child from another at MMR (which is why they are at LBP due to past bullying issues) is what is of importance. I say this not to disrespect the staff and students at another school but to show how it is of concern. The loyalty of the FI students isn’t to FI – it is to their peers at Hayden and to their school. You are under-estimating this sir. If you are wrong, especially with the FI at Hayden you still have an overcrowding issue and then a stream issue.

18) This was supposed to be about the students. It is not. Those at Hayden have been left in overcrowding for three years. Current solution – move FI -maybe 50% (if others choose mainstream) or 100% and monitor the rest (re overcrowding). Utilize portables. Bateman – it is okay to impact the most vulnerable in our school population with yet another move. You claim to understand how hard this is for them – if you did and really took to heart reports of what change vs. consistency does mean to them – you would not be making this decision. For those at LBP who answered the report that they appreciated and loved the close relationship with the teachers; that being known means a lot to them (vs. a number in a larger school); to having that opportunity to really fit in by participating in a sports program; then you would do everything you could to revamp those numbers to bring them up to about a 600 range of student population. You wouldn’t be separating cohorts at the elementary level and streaming them to two different schools. You would actually listen to them; see their faces; hear their words; read their signs; feel their pain. My daughter feels crushed and invisible in this process. My son feels resigned that this has been the plan all along. I cannot in good conscience tell them otherwise.

19) Has anyone, and I mean anyone, given the rhetoric I keep hearing about optimum programming being at 1200 students per school or even consolidating schools, read the reports/studies (too numerous to mention by professionals in their field) that say that 600-800 is the best number for high schools? If we want to look at the experts and their opinions – why is all of that data, information, input, years of experience, routinely ignored? Or, in fact is this information not even being considered?

20) I felt it was very misleading when a question was asked about new growth in Burlington (in fact we are already at the proposed growth now that the City of Burlington had expected in future years), to hear only about development south of the highway (and mainly condos so it doesn’t really count). The north will have, per Jack Dennison, the final single dwelling units, multiple townhouses, etc. The south will have condos or high density on existing properties that will be rezoned. The city and the board appear to use different metrics. The city has adjusted and realizes, due to financial considerations and cultural differences, that more than one family may occupy a dwelling. This actually caused the explosion at Hayden partially (i.e. incorrect forecast/numbers were projected by the board). What adjustments are you talking about to reflect this reality?

21) What were the results of the survey where the community was asked to input on their choice of options. For many that I spoke with, the 7B option of “no school closures – but boundary reviews” seemed to be the prime choice. Yet, even before your final report, that was being discounted as one that would not work. What then is the purpose of all these surveys – student, parent, community, first meeting (where no questions were answered), if input is ignored?

I have said it before and I will say it again, if you didn’t go into these jobs with the intention of closing schools, then that should be your starting and ending point. You are in the education field – be creative. All of the individuals that are working so hard to save their schools have put hours into coming up with creative ideas, ways to save their schools. Don’t ignore them. Stop seeing the children as a group – as an entity. They are individuals. Work with them, work with the community, to save all of our Burlington schools.

I write this letter for our community schools not just for my daughter and son, but for all the children and future high school students. They are worth it.

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35 comments to Reaction begins to set in: parent writes a 21 point letter on what she heard at the school board meeting.

  • Tom Muir

    Please excuse my typos in my message of today above.

    My discussion of enrollment/utilization declines in schools uses OTG instead of UTZ, and there is an UTG instead of UTZ.

    I think the rest is either okay or, with this correction, likely easy to figure out.


  • Jeremy Skinner

    Regarding your point 20, please refer to the minutes associated with PARC Working Meeting 7 (HDSB PAR website) under General Comments of which I quote:
    ● Cyclical nature of population/enrolment decline and growth mentioned.
    ● City Manager noted that higher density units with 0-1 bedrooms typically don’t house many families with secondary students and these families will continue to prefer groundbased homes.
    ● City Manager suggested that if any school is closed, the land not be sold, given the exorbitant costs (forecasted) to re-purchase the land in future.
    ● City Manager indicated that he should be informed (on behalf of the City) regarding the future availability of space within schools.

    Note: It was suggested at the same meeting that only 14 students per for every 1,000 condo units can be anticipated within Burlington.

  • Jeremy Skinner

    The Community Survey you sought in Item 21 of your letter can be found at

    or follow the links -> Schools -> Program Accommodation Studies -> Burlington Secondary School Program Accommodation Review (PAR) -> Program and Accommodation Review Committee -v PARC Working Group Meeting 6 March 23, 2017 file entitled “Online Feedback Survey (Full Report)”.

    Lots of useful background information can be found at the HDSB PAR website including the 282 Pg. Director’s Final Report.

    The Board Report section of the PAR website provides historical context information as to ON Min. of Ed mandate to balance school capacity with student enrollments which led to the PAR. No one likes to close a school.

    P.S. Be sure to Fill out the “On-line delegation form” on the HDSB PAR website if you wish to present on either of the May 8th or 11th delegation night meetings. There may be a 7-day advanced submission requirement so don’t delay.

  • Sharon

    Very well written and some good points.
    I have a friend that has 2 children that go to Haydon. I asked if they had classes in the hallways, library, and cafeteria. The answer is yes all the time. One comment was made by one is the only place classes aren’t held at Haydon is the washroom.

  • George

    Sorry for the typos in the response from George above the projected enrollment on the Directors slide was for the years 2016, 2020 and 2025.

  • Steve Atkinson

    I was finally able to realize what bothers me so much about this long , painful process while watching the Director present his report. Stuart Miller does not answer any questions. The Board staff does not answer any questions. The trustees don’t ask the obvious questions ( when they ask questions at all ). It is all deflection. There is no public input, period. The surveys are skewed. After the report was released I sent individual emails to all trustees and chairman. Individual emails because our trustee explained some byzantine email process that they have among themselves. Exactly 1 ( one ) trustee replied and it was not our own.

    The new fast track PAR process to close 600 Ontario schools is flawed. It is hasty. There is no public input. No other process in business or Government requires the implementation of drastic action before the outcome is known. As explained by the Director at the outset, a PAR does not mean school closures. And yet, here we are. The Directors only recommendations have been closures since day 1. Either he does not understand the PAR, or he is misleading us.

    Lester B Pearson was one of Canada’s greatest Statesmen. A Nobel Prize winner. To celebrate Canadas 150th Birthday, your local education leaders want to close the Burlington High school named in his honour. And lets not ignore the school named in honour of Canadas most famous, successful world renowned Artist. What a shameful legacy for our city!

  • George

    The power point slide show presented by the Director of Education at the HDSB Trustee meeting on Wednesday April 26, 2017 focused for the most part on the slide “Current Situation: Low Utilization”. This slide showed the projected enrollment for Burlington high schools for 2016, 2010 & 2015. HDSB is required to prepare a 10 year forecasted enrollment with a yearly update.

    Dr. FJ Hayden was opened in September 2013 now some three (3) years and a few months later the HDSB Director of Education is proposing to close two (2) Burlington High Schools.

    The HDSB process of forecasting projected enrollment must be called into question as to its’ validity and thus the Directors recommendations based upon the “Current Situation: Low Utilization” slide are to be questioned.

    The process of recommending closure of two Burlington high schools is flawed and should be immediately halted. The only intelligent solution is to equitably and fairly redistribute the high school feeder schools and catchment areas and to pursue the decision to “Save All Burlington High Schools”.

  • Cheryl d

    So Colleen I can in fact confirm that classes are being held in the hallway and in cafeterias, staff lounges so I’m not sure why the Hayden parents seem to think this is acceptable. My understanding is that Hayden group does not want to move their children to an older school because they like their new fancy school. It is a mute point I’m not going to add any more information to this

    these are the facts and I did ask the question on our tour at that lasted for approximately one hour. We got lots of information being a parc representative so again your point is mute

    If the parents at Hayden think that having their students in portables and in hallways is the state-of-the-art learning environment then so be it. The bigger point here is Hayden is in crisis with overcapacity and that’s school never needed to be built in the first place and all other six high schools are being penalized because of that school. Case in point Pearson is 2 km down the street that could help solve the overcrowding to allow those students at Hayden to have A great learning experience.

  • Dorothy

    Great letter! Thanks for taking the time to put together two sides of the story. Sometimes we all lose sight of a goal when in a debate and get stuck defending their story rather than opening up to all viable solutions. I know Miller, and he always seemed like a decent guy who is in fact down to earth. Hopefully he can change his perspective and not see this as a debate but rather a community coming together to help save schools and provide viable solutions that support what he indicated his end goal was. If his end goal is different than what is being communicated , it’s time to be honest.

    • Diane Miller

      Agree Dorothy. It is a time for discussion with community partners which hasn’t been done 100%. This isn’t just a Burlington issue but across Ontario issue. Discussions have been had around how the funding formula is flawed for years as well as how this PARC process was. 300 schools are slated to close across Ontario. How is that even possible? In Sudbury, where a temporary halt has happened, students would have bee on buses for up to 2 hrs each way. In Eastern Ontario 12 schools are slated for closure and 3 in Niagara region. Another writer commented that I am only doing this as a school that I have a child at is closing. Wrong. They made an assumption based on not knowing me. As a long time advocate (and previous employee in not-for-profits) I am always fighting for those with no voice and trying to utilize facts and logic to find a workable solution. When I spoke with McMahon’s office and have written letters/emails it hasn’t just been about Burlington but all communities and trust me I do not have 300 children. But seriously, if I have the provincial (local) MP’s office telling me they aren’t forcing people to close schools, then what are we doing? Why aren’t we exploring everything possible and have this as a last resort. Then if it is, let us be wise and not close 2 in case we are wrong but perhaps lease out, etc. so unlike Hamilton, where projections were wrong, they had to buy back a high school they had sold.

  • Cheryl d

    Colleen. As a formal parc representative we toured every high school and we actually in fact witness classrooms being held in the hallways, public library, the community rooms, and it was quoted by your principal at Hayden that Hayden will be in crisis situation next year having classes in the cafeteria, in the staff lounge is so this is actually fact thank you very much Diane Miller for posting this very thorough letter.

    • Colleen A

      So Cheryl you saw teachers standing out in the hallway teaching lessons? Did you confirm that what you witnessed was due to overcrowding? Is it possible that what you saw could have just been some students sitting out in the hallway, cafeteria, etc doing their work? Did you ask if what you were seeing was due to overcrowding? Did you ask if what you were seeing was temporary or a regular occurrence?

      I will concede that the kids will be facing a crises next year. But bottom line, you are painting a picture of kids not having an assigned classroom due to overcrowding, based on what you witnessed during a tour that lasted for what, maybe a period out of one day. I’m going to stick with what I’ve heard from my daughter as well as other Hayden families who have never seen actual classes being held on a regular basis out in hallways, etc.

      • Tom Muir


        Diane has done an incredible heart felt job here. No doubt about it.

        I suggest that you need to give Diane and also Cheryl a break. Every one of your claims of “misinformation” has been answered a couple of times by more than one person.

        But you still persist in your own brand of diversion with your last array of unanswerable questions that really insult their integrity and efforts to be accurate.

        You have provided nothing except your daughter’s statement, which is not even described in any detail. This can be called “misinformation”

        You also claim the option 7b won’t work, but that’s misinformation, as it can be made to work, and it did work quite well before Hayden was built to create the mess – building too many surplus seats, with 12 trailers for classes, that continue to to be stuffed to overflowing, and to drain the other 6 schools and feeders for almost all of Hayden students.

        Even you agree with the description of crisis. Did you also know that 580 Hayden students are bused, the largest number in Burlington?

        It’s the Board that has been consistently feeding parents misinformation and misdirection. I don’t know how you could have not seen the obvious truth of this in all the commentary and public outcry about the PAR process.

        The vast majority of people see this Board manipulation directed to pay back the surplus seats they deliberately created by closing 2 schools, an incredibly costly and all round destructive recommendation.

        Perhaps your self-confessed lack of an emotional stake in this matter, because you are apparently comfortable with an “I’m alright” attitude, underlies your apparent comfort with your own bunch of misinformation to rely on.

        • Colleen A

          Tom and Cheryl,
          I’ve responded to Cheryl & Dianne because they responded to me. It’s called a discussion. My family may not have an emotional stake in the closures, but we sure do have one in the process. Like it or not, we are loyal to our school, and when I see claims that don’t line up with what we’ve experienced, I speak up. My daughter has an accommodation in her IEP that allows her to leave each of her classes early in order to avoid the sensory issues that come from crowds in the hallways in between periods. If classes were being forced out in the hallways, a) she would have seen it (which she hasn’t) and b) that accommodation would be useless-instead it’s been very helpful.
          I agree that there are too many feeder schools for Hayden, but Cheryl to say it didn’t need to be built is wrong. In the space of approximately 10yrs, 4 elementary schools had to be built to accommodate the students from Alton & the Orchard (THAT is who Hayden was originally built for-this is clearly stated on the Board website in the FAQ’s in the PARC section). To say that we didn’t need our own high school is ludicrous.

          For us, this isn’t about being in a “big fancy school”. I don’t think the way things are now are acceptable. But it’s our home school. We have formed relationships there. The staff is phenomenal. If you want to vilify and blame Hayden for all of this, that’s your right. Dianne & I finished off our discussion respectfully yesterday on Facebook, and this will be my final post about this on here. Good day.

          • Tom Muir

            Colleen, (And George Ward who made a point about this here)

            I am not “vilifying” Hayden at all. And I’m not saying you didn’t need a high school. My point is similar to your original complaint about “misinformation”.

            My point is that Hayden was built with no regard or public disclosure for the consequences that were built right into the plan from the start – surplus seats in the other Burlington high schools, and Hayden bursting at the seams.

            And worse, I have found proof that this was done deliberately by the Board in their planning, boundary and feeder changes, and construction.

            I got this data only through an FOI request to the Board and the Ministry. The Board would not respond to my requests for the Hayden story. I will make this available to anyone who wants it and contacts me.

            In fact, the 2009 plan, submitted to the Ministry, showed Hayden overflowing with students within 3 years of opening, and continuing this trend.

            In planned consequences, back in 2009, MM Robinson utilization was planned to decline from 93.7% to 53.4%, and Bateman to decline from 99.2% to 43.9%, by 2018/19. Most of these students were transferred to Hayden.

            The more recent data, shown by the Board, at the November PAR public meeting, and titled in a slide as, “Current Situation: Low Utilization”, paints an even worse picture of what has been done by the Board and only made public in this PAR, as the mess they created.

            This data clearly shows Hayden continuously overfilled grossly with students transferred largely from the other schools, as part of the plan. And this is being facilitated with portables, part of the plan too.

            From no students on 2010, Hayden goes to 129% UTG in 2016, and projected at 159% in 2020 and 141% in 2025.

            At the same time, the other schools continue the planned decline, but now there are 4 schools that are in that situation, not just the 2 schools identified in the 2009 plan, as I noted above.

            This data is as follows;

            – From 112% UTG in 2010, Pearson declines to 61% in 2016, and projected to 55% in 2020, and 50% in 2025.

            – From 87% OTG in 2010, Robinson declines to 53% in 2016, and projected to 47% in 2020, and 46% in 2025.

            – From 107% OTG in 2010, Nelson declines to 75% in 2016, and projected to 83% in 2020, and 79% in 2025.

            – From 95% OTG in 2010, Bateman declines to 59% in 2016, and projected to 55% in 2020, and 50% in 2025.

            This is the actual data showing how building Hayden created new seats that then became surplus seats for the rest of Burlington schools.

            It also shows that the HDSB did this deliberately in their plans and actions.

            It is elementary arithmetic that Utilization (UTZ) equals Enrollment (ADE) divided by On the Ground capacity (OTG.

            So adding new OTG, not accompanied by an equal increase in Enrollment, equals a decline in utilization of the increased total OTG.

            This was done with Hayden.

            Shifting student enrollment greater than the new OTG, to the new OTG, from the approximately same total enrollment, will further decrease the UTZ in the remainder OTG schools.

            This is what is happening making the remainder schools appear even worse regarding UTZ.

            This was also done with Hayden.

            This all paints a picture of the Board knowing what they are doing and that it will lead to a scenario where schools may be closed, which is what they are recommending.

            So we have our planned mess courtesy of the Board that will not come clean with this and be contrite. Instead, they double down on closures.

            So finally Colleen, with all due respect, your comment, “To say that we didn’t need our own high school is ludicrous.” strikes me in its irony.

            Isn’t the factual story I just told here “ludicrous”?

            Isn’t it ludicrous that all the crap in this story is falling on the other Burlington schools, especially the 4 targeted, of which 2 are recommended for closure?

            The facts clearly indicate that you getting your own high school – “your home school” – was only made possible by other people being threatened with losing their high school.

            That’s what needs to be vilified – I’m not vilifying Hayden but this hideous and tragic creation I have described.

            That’s what is ludicrous, but you and your Hayden friends seem unable to see that, and your last words say you aren’t interested in posting any more.

            I hope you can find the time to hear a little more real truthful information, not misinformation, and have a good day.

          • Hans

            Re: “The HDSB did this deliberately in their plans and actions”, as Tom has demonstrated beyond any doubt – it begs the question: WHY? What possible reasons would they have for screwing up so badly? And WHO ordered this disaster? Those responsible should lose their jobs for creating this terrible mess, which will negatively affect so many students and which will waste many millions that could have been used to improve the schools.

  • Stephen White

    Indeed…a great letter Dianne!

    As I have said many times: this entire review process has been so seriously compromised, and so many legitimate doubts have now been raised by so many different writers, that the legitimacy of both the consultation process and the final recommendation are now highly suspect. How this Board can, in all good conscience, endorse any proposal to close Pearson and Bateman without first addressing these concerns borders on irresponsibility.

    Perhaps time to start an online petition supporting proposal 7b and opposing all school closures. I’d like to see how trustees would endorse closures in the so many prospective signatories.

  • Dee Gee

    Common sense. Too bad the Board of Ed and its staff don’t seem to have any. Dianne – if you haven’t already done so, please send this letter to all HDSB trustees.

    • Diane Miller

      Thanks Dee. It has been sent. I hope, if you haven’t had a chance to do so that you will share your thoughts to them as well. They need to hear from the whole community.

  • Colleen A

    Dianne, while I admire what you are trying to do. As a Hayden/Orchard parent, I am getting frustrated with the misinformation that is being spread by people who are upset about school closures. To your first point about the response about Killbride students. The question was not even about Killbride students. The response you mentioned was responding to the question about sending Orchard students back down to Bateman (as they had done before Hayden was built). The response that it would make no sense to send ORCHARD students past 2 underutilizchools in order to send them to Bateman.
    Also, I don’t know where you’re getting your information from about Hayden students being ‘forced’ to have classes in hallways, the cafeteria and the library. While there might be some students who sit in those areas to have an alternate place to work (my daughter, who has autism, has this as an accommodation on her IEP), I can assure you that there are not classes being forced into any of the areas you mentioned.

    Lastly, of course the people who you’ve talked to support 7b-they’re trying to keep their school from being closed. As for the rest of us who don’t have an emotional stake in the closures, we fully see that 7b will not work, and in fact, I felt it was the worst option out of all of them, and I put that in my survey. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    • Diane Miller

      Thanks for sharing Colleen. It was Richelle Papin who asked the question about Kilbride students, so as she is our school trustee I was listening with great intent. We obviously had different take-aways of the timing of what he said. I definitely heard him say that the Kilbride students – it just made more sense than passing 2 schools. Re the Orchard students originally were sent down to Bateman until Hayden was built.

      I have heard from the students themselves. My son had friends there. They enjoyed it the first couple of years, but then with the overcrowding did not. The information also came from some PARC reps. The principal doesn’t know, apparently, how much longer they can continue in the present state. A friend personally was at the community library (with her kids as it is her nearest library) and has seen the classes being held there due to lack of space. We have also heard from students re some classes in the cafeteria and gym in the hallways. Not saying anything negative about the school itself, but really wonder why anyone thinks the norm should be 12 or 18 portables to attend a school.

      Each of us is entitled to their opinion. Sadly, if Hayden had not been built we would have no shortages and wouldn’t even have to consider these “options”.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Perhaps others who were Orchard students (or I will check with our trustee) can clarify if they at anytime (as I understood) went to Bateman and Nelson.

    • Diane Miller

      Hi Colleen,
      I was able to get confirmation of the following from a PARC representative:

      Correct Orchard children went to Bateman prior to Hayden. And we toured Hayden and witnessed classes in hallway and the principal stated “they will be in crises next year” with two classes needing to be run in cafeteria and every class period they are in the public library and over on the community rooms. Checking on the rest that you indicated.

    • Diane Miller

      Hi again Colleen,
      Sorry for all the replies, but am getting confirmations in to respond to the statements you made and I wanted to make sure that I had heard our Trustee’s question and the response correctly. I have now had a few confirmations including this one: I distinctly remember them saying that they moved Kilbride to Hayden to respond to Kilbride parents who didn’t like their kids driving past 2 schools to get to Pearson.

      Take care and have a great evening.

    • Diane Miller

      Final one, I hope in answer to your points or concern with my “misinformation”. Confirmation from a teacher – Yes to Orchard students went to Bateman: English stream went to Bateman, and yes to Orchard going to Nelson: FI went to Nelson prior to Hayden being built.

      As someone who is very conscience about stating the truth and avoiding misinformation at all costs, I normally try to have my facts in order prior to posting. But when you posted, I wondered if I had misheard some of the information so made sure to check reliable sources: PARC reps, Teachers, etc. I have shared with you their responses.

      If in doubt, I know the minutes will be published from that meeting and potentially an audio recording if you want to further check.

      Kindest regards.

  • Gail

    Thank you! So many agree with you!

    • Diane Miller

      Thanks so much Gail. Appreciate the support. Hope you will share your voice/thoughts too with the trustees. All of our community schools are important.


    Very well written, I couldn’t agree more. Somehow I think our students have been the very last ones to be considered in this Brutal PAR. Our community and children’s lives will be completely uprooted. So much for the best interest of the children.

    • Diane Miller

      It has been a brutal process one that causes division and pits school against school. That in itself is tragic as one school and its’ students is not more important than another. All of our community schools are unique and of value. Even more so are the students that are housed within. No matter which school you are in those students are worth fighting for. I detest that this process pits us in trying to throw some students under the bus (or out of their school as the case may be). One wonders if the shoe were on the other foot and was another school closing if the feeling would be the same – that somehow this is okay?

  • Trudy Johnson

    Thank you for writing up such a thorough evaluation on this issue Diane. When my family move to Burlington 22 years ago, we looked for a house within walking distance of schools for our 3 young children, and we moved to the LBP area. My daughter eventually went into late FI which she could not have done if it was not at her home schools. Also, all 3 of mine enjoyed a variety of extra curricular activities with ample opportunity to participate due to the smaller size of LBP. There seems to be a shortage of common sense and an abundance of personal agendas involved with the “powers that be”.

    • Diane Miller

      Thanks Trudy. All of our schools are unique.
      Pearson is special in so many ways as is Bateman. Hope the trustees will see their value and explore other options than closure.