Ministry accepts Lakehead Board implementation of Cooke report

Archived Release

Ministry accepts Lakehead Board implementation of Cooke report

Ministry of Education

FWCI decisions too advanced to reverse, eight schools to go under new process THUNDER BAY, ON, June 30 - The Ministry of Education is prepared to accept the Lakehead District School Board's implementation plan for the Cooke report, Education Minister Gerard Kennedy announced today. Kennedy was in Thunder Bay on June 29 and met with representatives of the board to discuss in depth the implications of independent facilitator Dave Cooke's report on school closures. "A key difference arising from our meeting is that because of a variety of circumstances, we are now convinced that a good educational outcome cannot be guaranteed for Fort William Collegiate Institute (FWCI) students if the school was kept open," said Kennedy. "While the economics of keeping the school open were feasible, the educational plan in place would mean too few students returning in September. This would run counter to the facilitator's report, which called for FWCI to have a viable future." Kennedy notes that Gorham and Ware Public School remains open and fully operational this fall and will have a school valuation to confirm Mr. Cooke's recommendation that it should not be subject to any further consideration. In keeping with the Cooke report, seven schools originally slated for closure will now be subject to the new school closing process, including school valuations, public input and capital planning. Kennedy also noted that since his original meeting with the board last October, the board has modified its intention significantly from the original 21 schools recommended for closure. "Mr. Cooke's report is a reasonable compromise for ensuring the best outcome for the students and the communities of Lakehead," said Kennedy. "Just as importantly, the ministry and the board have now been able to find common ground for collaborating on the future of the public school system in the area, and will be working together on that goal in the future." The board has agreed to work as a pilot board for implementing the new provincial policy and to work with the ministry on a comprehensive strategy for declining enrolment boards in the province. Disponible en fran├žais. www.edu.gov.on.ca www.resultsontario.gov.on.caFor further information: Contacts: Amanda Alvaro, Minister's Office, (416) 325-2632; Wilma Davis, Communications Branch, (416) 325-6730, (416) 509-5696 (cell); Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929, or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892