HDSB Decisions for Ward 4: Impact on Ward 6

In late March 2009 HDSB decided to build a new elementary school in Palermo to open September 2010. This school will be dual-track, English track and French Immersion track. As reported by the Oakville Beaver:

“To alleviate over-crowding at Ecole Forest Trail Public School, and avoid the need for the board to make costly relocations of portables, French immersion students in Grades 1 to 3 who will eventually move to the Palermo school will be temporarily housed at Lorne Skuce [Public] School for the 2009/2010 academic year. That school, located on Ridge Drive is currently acting as a holding school for students awaiting renovation of Montclair [Public School], but will be vacant next September.”

This makes it a priority for HDSB to be able to vacate Lorne Skuce PS for September 2009. This could affect our Ward 6 Munn’s PS (which is in Ward 5 like Lorne Skuce PS). Munn’s PS is supposed to get an addition built by September 2009 but this might be not get construction priority from HDSB relative to the construction at Montclair PS since Montclair PS needs to be done in order to vacate Lorne Skuce PS.

The good news is that the construction at Montclair PS and Munn’s PS were awarded to different firms (PM Contracting for Montclair PS and STF Construction for Munn’s PS). Of course, we know nothing of the other projects of these firms or how they are resourced. We do know that this project is already 2 months delayed and that the additions at Joshua Creek PS were finished 7 months behind schedule.

Delays at Munn’s PS could mean a few things. One possibility is that there would be more portables at Munn’s PS during delayed construction and having the school year progress while the school is under construction (this is what occurred at Joshua Creek PS). Another possibility is that some students from Munn’s PS would be sent to Lorne Skuce PS for 2009/2010. Why? If Munn’s PS isn’t ready it doesn’t have the capacity and HDSB might say, “Since we’re bussing these kids anyway and we’ve got capacity at Lorne Skuce PS and its FI too, so that’s what we’re doing.”

Of course, if HDSB makes a mess of Munn’s PS, it may cause continued low French immersion participation from Ward 6 (relative to other Oakville wards). This could have repercussions on enrolment at other Ward 6 schools.

NOTE: the size for the Palermo school is 440-students, which is much smaller than the 700-student size that Superintendent Parfeniuk stated was what HDSB builds when he rejected building a new school for Ward 6 (we couldn’t fill a 700-student school but we could have filled a 500-student school), but it is similarly sized to the 504-students for the Clearview school approved earlier this year. Its 500-student schools for Ward 3 and Ward 4 but not for Ward 6.

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