An update on Sherwood Forest Public School from Sandy Levin:
Next week, Tuesday June 28th, the school board Trustees are scheduled to vote on the staff recommendation to combine the student bodies at Orchard Park P.S. and to close (effective June 30, 2013) and declare Sherwood Forest P.S. (and property) surplus to the Board’s needs. If passed, this will result in the initiation of a process by which the Sherwood Forest site can be sold. Normally the Board does not begin the process of offering the property until after the school closes, however, there is no reason that they cannot.
Having reviewed the comments senior administration made in response to the community’s submissions to the Trustees in May, (you can see all of the community presentations on the webcast of the May 24th meeting starting about 45 minutes into the webcast), I am not hopeful that the Trustees, even our own trustees, will vary the recommendation in any way. You can view the webcast of the May 24th and June 14th Board meetings by going to http://www.tvdsb.ca/videos.cfm?channelID=11&categoryID=16 and clicking on June 14th Board meeting. The portion of the June 14th meeting dealing with our two schools starts 74 minutes and 38 seconds into the webcast.
To summarize the comments by the Administration made on June 14th:
– there is no information on turnover of properties in the area
– there has been a decline of 1045 in the age 0-19 group between the 1996 and 2006 census in the Medway Planning Area (which includes our area as well as Whitehills and University Hts)
– K to 8 schools provide positive programming and staffing advantages (there was no reference to the very interesting research article one of the community speakers raised in her presentation at the May meeting in support of K to 6 schools).
– The Board did not start the ARC before having a policy for ARCs in place.
– There is no Ministry policy regarding there being an Administrative recommendation at the start of an ARC. This Board prefers to have its recommendation up front so that it is not accused of hiding its position.
– The Board and City are only starting to talk about common issues regarding school sites, but nothing will happen until the fall.
– it would cost $19,000/year to “hibernate” the Sherwood Forest P.S. site if it was closed but not sold (heat, snow removal, grass cutting, insurance)
– the Board has not kept a closed school – it has always either declared it surplus or changed it to other use such as French Immersion
– Not declaring Sherwood Forest P.S. surplus would mean a lost opportunity to generate revenue to be used for capital improvements to other schools
I found it most interesting that no trustees asked any questions after this presentation by its Administration, nor was there any additional information given or asked regarding the Orchard Park P.S. gym.
I still hope you can join me at the meeting at the Board office, 1250 Dundas Street East on June 28th at 7 pm to watch the proceedings. The agenda is usually posted on the Monday before the meeting and you can judge roughly when the discussion on the schools will take place (it won’t be right at 7 pm!). http://www.tvdsb.ca/board.cfm?subpage=113288
There is still an opportunity to write the Trustees. E-mail addresses and phone numbers can be found at http://www.tvdsb.ca/board.cfm?subpage=79700
In the meantime, I have begun to make inquires to see if we can find a way to acquire the site or find a new tenant who might use the space (hopefully one the school board would agree to). It is a long shot. If you have any suggestions of who I can contact, please let me know.