School Trustee Report
by David Mason
March 13, 2015
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Set to Close?
It is great to have an opportunity to clarify the status of Paisley School. Currently, there are no accommodation reviews (ARCs) underway for any school within the Bluewater School Board.
The Provincial government is in the process of generating new accommodation guidelines for closing schools. At the close of the 2014 calendar year, the government shared the new accommodation guidelines in a draft form and asked for input from the wider Community.
Currently, School Boards across the Province are awaiting these new guidelines. These guidelines, once published, will then be incorporated into an Accommodation Policy for the Bluewater School Board.
In my opinion, the direction of the draft accommodation guidelines is to streamline the process for school closures. The draft accommodation guide lines indicate that the timeframes and the number of required Public meetings for closing schools will be reduced.
Paisley Central School is one of 18 schools listed in the 'Watson Report' to be considered for accommodation reviews. This report came out last year and is available from the Bluewater Board website www.bwdsb.on.ca [click on the Capital Plan link on the right hand side].
In my opinion, the 'Watson Repor't will be used as a starting point for the Trustees to consider as they deal with the very real issue of under-used school space. The funding costs for under-used school space across the Bluewater Board are not sustainable at current funding levels. It is unlikely that School Boards across the Province will receive additional funding to keep under-used school spaces open.
Indeed, it has been reported that $1Billion are currently being used across the Province to maintain these under-used school spaces.
In my opinion, I feel that is very important for the Community of Paisley to become familiar with the 'Watson Report' and that it is very important that the Community of Paisley is aware of the issue of under-used school space.
As a trustee and part of any future accommodation reviews, I am to remain neutral until the data and public input has been put forward to the Board of Trustees. As a trustee I am committed to sharing details of this most difficult accommodation process through open conversations.
As part of this process, I have shared the elements contained in this update with the Arran-Elderslie Municipal Council. I hope this clarifies the status of Paisley Central School.
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Sunday, March 15, 2015