Ministry of Education working with school board to support interests of Ottawa-area students

Archived Release

Ministry of Education working with school board to support interests of Ottawa-area students

Ministry of Education

OTTAWA, June 22 - The Ministry of Education today released the report of the independent review of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's school closure plans, Education Minister Gerard Kennedy announced today. "The report found that the declining enrolment trends at both schools were too pronounced to reverse," said Kennedy. "Notwithstanding that the board's process did not meet the principles of the new guidelines, the board decisions were found to be in the best interests of students." Joan Green, former director of education for the Toronto District Board of Education and founding CEO of the Education Quality and Accountability Office, was appointed by Kennedy in late April 2005 to conduct a review of the board's decision to close two schools. Green found that although the board's decision process did not meet the spirit of the new school closure guidelines, the decision to close J.S. Woodsworth Secondary School and Laurentian High School was in the best interests of the students and the school community and should be upheld. "We will now work closely with the OCDSB to ensure their new school closure process adheres to our guidelines so that future closure decisions will be based on a schools' value to its students, the community, the school system and the economy," said Kennedy. Over the course of her review, Green held 18 meetings and met with close to 190 students, parents, trustees, board staff and members of the community. The government's promise to review boards' decisions to close schools was part of its Good Places to Learn announcement in February, which included new policy guidelines on school closures. Where boards made closure decisions after December 2003 - and the schools in question had not yet closed - the government committed to providing an independent facilitator to review the board's decision. Under the McGuinty government's new school closure guidelines, a formal school valuation must be completed when a school is being considered for closure. Because the board passed a resolution after the moratorium was announced, a facilitator was appointed to review the closure decisions to determine if the board met the spirit of the new guidelines and the new capital planning process. The facilitator was asked to determine: 1) Whether the spirit of the new school closure guidelines and capital planning guidelines had been met, and 2) Whether there was a substantial benefit to students or the community if the decisions were to be subject to the new guidelines. To view the full report, please visit the ministry website at www.edu.gov.on.ca. Disponible en fran├žais. www.edu.gov.on.ca www.resultsontario.gov.on.caFor further information: Amanda Alvaro, Minister's Office, (416) 325-2632, (416) 509-5696 (cell); Wilma Davis, Communications Branch, (416) 325-6730; Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892