| Mar 27, 2008

Feature Article - March 27, 2008

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Feature Article - March 27, 2008 Accomodation review for Sharbot Lake family of schools By Jeff GreenThe Limestone District School Board will be looking seriously at the future of Sharbot Lake High School and its four feeder elementary schools starting in September.

A Program Accomodation Review Commitee (PARC) is being established, which will include two school board trustees and a school superintendent from the board, as well as the principal, one teacher, one non-teaching staff member, and three parents from each school. The municipalities of North and Central Frontenac are also being approached for representatives.

While accomodation reviews are slated for all families of schools within the board over the next few years, the Sharbot Lake family is one of only four that are being looked at immediately.

A school board communique that was sent to North Frontenac Council cites five conditions that were taken into account in deciding to look at this particular family of schools, which includes Hinchinbrooke PS in Parham, Land O'Lakes PS in Mountain Grove, Clarendon Central PS in Plevna and Sharbot Lake PS:

The schools will have or will “experience adverse impact on learning opportunities for students due to declining enrolment.”

Reorganisation involving the group of schools could enhance program and learning opportunities.

The existing teaching spaces are not suitable to provide the programs needed to serve the community and retrofitting is cost prohibitive.

Multiple grade classes are necessary in some of the schools under “normal staffing allocation practices.”

Some of the schools have higher building maintenance costs than average and are in need of major capital improvements.

Last year, a facilities review deemed the Sharbot Lake public and high schools, as well as Hinchinbrooke Public School, “prohibitive to repair”, which means it would be more cost effective to rebuild the schools rather than try to bring them up to current standards.

A consultant’s report, also from last year, proposed that a new comprehensive school be built at the Sharbot Lake High School site, and all of the feeder schools be closed, but the school board has distanced itself from that report.

Processes similar to this are underway throughout the province, and it is anticipated that they will result in some large-scale requests for capital funding in order to bring the recommendations into place. This funding is beyond the means of the school boards, and would have to be supplied by the province.

The Program Accomodation Review for the Sharbot Lake family of schools is expected to take 10 to 12 months.

Prince Charles School in Verona, which is also on the list of “prohibitive to repair” schools, is not included in this, or any current accomodation review.

In receiving the communique from the school board last week, North Frontenac Mayor Ron Maguire noted that it came to council at the same time as a notification for a wireless broadband network that will provide high speed internet to the same family of schools.

“On one hand they are investing in high speed and on the other hand they are considering closing the same schools,” he said.

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