Families across rural Eastern Ontario are fretting over the future of their schools as many could close in the coming years.
But it’s not as bad as some people think, Upper Canada District School Board chairman told Farmers Forum.
Of the school board’s 84 schools from Lanark County to the Quebec border, excluding the city of Ottawa, 29 schools made the hit list for possible closure for various reasons that included “under 60 % capacity use and the condition of the facility,” chairman Jeff McMillan said. A report says that the school board has a surplus of almost 10,000 student spaces.
McMillan added that the 29 schools are only “possibilities” for closing in the next 10 to 15 years. Meantime, the board is seeking public feedback and will vote March 23 on which schools to close, he said. “It will certainly be less than 29.”
Last year, the Ontario government said about 600 schools are “underutilized” across the province. This has been interpreted by many to mean as many as 600 schools could close over the next 15 years. Public outcry by Eastern Ontario rural residents last month sparked a Queen’s Park protest.
Here is a list of the 29 schools in the Upper Canada district that could close.
Category 1 schools: Where students can be accommodated at other schools without re-builds or additions.
1. Benson Public School in Cardinal
2. Char-Lan District High School in Lancaster (will close next year)
3. Glen Tay Public School, just west of Perth
4. Long Sault Public School, just west of Cornwall
5. North Elmsley Public School, just west of Smiths Falls
6. Oxford-On-Rideau Public School in Oxford Mills
7. Pakenham Public School in Pakenham
8. Plantagenet Public School in Plantagenet
9. Rideau Centennial Public School in Portland, northwest of Athens
10. Rothwell-Osnabruck in Ingleside
11. Seaway District High School in Iroquois
12. Wolford Public School, in Merrickville-Wolford
Category 2 schools: Where students can be accommodated with portables or temporary adjustments at other schools before upgrades are complete.
13. Iroquois Public School
14. Morrisburg Public school
15. S.J. McLeod Public School in Lancaster
16. Williamstown Public School in South Glengarry
Category 3 schools: Conditional on upgrades to facilities at the receiving schools.
17. Caldwell Public School, southwest of Ottawa
18. Glengarry District High School in Alexandria
19. Maynard Public School, just west of Prescott
20. South Edwardsburg Public School, just east of Prescott
21. St. Lawrence Secondary School in Cornwall
22. Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School
23. Sweet’s Corners Public School at Lyndhurst
24. Maxville Public School in Maxville
25. North Stormont Public School, west of Avonmore
Schools yet to be defined as Category 2 or 3:
26. Maple Grove Public School in Lanark.
27. Pineview Public School in Athens.
28. Prince of Wales Public School in Brockville.
29. Toniata Public School in Brockville.
The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario also operates schools from Lanark County to the Quebec border (excluding the city of Ottawa) and is also proposing school closures. The board has released its draft plan for only the Cornwall area where there are nine schools.
The following four face possible closure:
1. Immaculate Conception Catholic School.
2. St. Columban’s Catholic School.
3. Sacred Heart Catholic School.
4. St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School.