Revised Dates for Boundary Review

The revised dates for the Boundary Review have been revised:

  • January 10, 2012 – Administrative Report to the board, with recommendations, considering results of parental input forms
  • January 24, 2012 – Opportunity for members of the public to present to the Board of Trustees
  • February 7, 2012 – Decision by Board of Trustees regarding future boundaries

A memo from the School Board regarding this schedule change is here

If you wish to make a presentation to the Trustees, see:
http://www.tvdsb.ca/files/78949/presenters_package_dec2011.pdf.

Note that the Presenters’ Package must be received no later than January 11, 2012, if you with to give input to the Board of Trustees.

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Boundary Review Parent Community Input Form

The Boundary Review Parent Community Input Form for Orchard Park, Sherwood Forest, Clara Brenton and Eagle Heights is now available. The information is going home with students from Orchard Park and from Sherwood Forest today (Thursday, December 15). Responses are due back to the school on Monday, December 19th. However, the Board’s process is that only parents of students in the school are to submit forms. The rest of us are to have our say at the Board meeting the evening of January 10th at the Board offices, 1250 Dundas Street.

Continue reading “Boundary Review Parent Community Input Form”

End of an Era – Sherwood Forest P.S. to Close

An update from Sandy Levin –

END OF AN ERA – SHERWOOD FOREST P.S. TO CLOSE
A BOUNDARY REVIEW FOR ORCHARD PARK P.S.

Before I start, I wanted to thank everyone who has been involved in this process. That includes those who toughed it out at the Board meeting this week (we didn’t get a decision until almost 11 pm), those who made presentations to the Board and to the ARC and of course, to the members of the ARC who spent a lot of time and effort on a good solution, only to have most of it disregarded by school board staff.

At the school board meeting of June 28th, the Board voted to close Sherwood Forest Public School as of June 30, 2013. It also agreed not to declare the site surplus any earlier than June 30, 2013 which gives the community the two years to try and find a way to keep the site as an important part of our neighbourhood.

(As an aside, this week, a couple of members of the ratepayers executive met with a representative from the city’s Community Services Department to point out that there is no city owned playground equipment in the entire area. This helped her to understand why the District Park on the other side of Wonderland Road is not our community park space.)

In addition to voting to close Sherwood Forest P.S., the school board agreed to do a boundary review prior to the closing that would look at the school boundaries for Orchard Park P.S. This was because the projected enrollment for Orchard Park after 2013 is still under the school’s capacity. This review is a good thing. For one reason, an enrollment near to or even slightly over capacity would avoid having another school closure hanging over the community’s head. The other reason is that it may lead to better gym facilities being provided for Orchard Park, something the parents there have asked for. The only odd thing about the boundary review is that this idea was raised by the ARC during the process (as a means to keep Sherwood Forest P.S. open), but it was rejected by the administrative representative from the Board to the ARC.

Another strange moment at the Board meeting was when the senior superintendent presenting the report argued against giving the community more than two years to find an alternative to keep public access to the space. She stated that the Administration already gave one more year due to public input. This is simply not the case. The Board’s administrative recommendation at the start of the ARC was to close the school in June 2012, but during the ARC process (the October, 2010 meeting which I attended), the administrative representative indicated to the ARC that due to time lines required for design, tender and build, it would be June 2013 before Sherwood Forest would be closed. Unfortunately, due to Board processes, none of us in the audience could correct the record, and it is likely this “misstatement” kept some of the trustees from pursing the idea of retaining the site longer.

Councillor Branscombe has already given assurances that she will work with city staff to see what can be done to keep the space the school board currently owns; available for public access. I will keep you informed as this plays out.

Update on Sherwood Forest P.S.

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.

ARC – Update on School Board Meeting

The meeting at the Board of Education on May 24th went well. Those who presented did a great job of letting the trustees know the importance of the schools to our neighbourhood. People spoke strongly about the importance of the green space and making sure Orchard Park P.S. is ready for new students, particularly in getting a better gym. Thanks to everyone who spoke at the meeting and to those who attended.

The Trustees asked a number of questions and the Board Administration was tasked with providing some answers prior to the Board’s June 28th meeting when the Trustees are scheduled to vote on this matter.

At this point, it is anticipated that the Administration will continue to recommend Sherwood Forest P.S. be closed and the site declared surplus. It is up to the Trustees though and hopefully, letters to them and being in the gallery on the 28th will have an impact.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact Sandy Levin s.levin@sympatico.ca