Administrative Review Completed At Ottawa Catholic School Board
Ministry of Education Accepts Independent Facilitator's Report
The Ministry of Education accepts independent facilitator Dave Cooke's report examining the accommodation review process for an elementary school at the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
The report states that the board did follow its locally developed accommodation review process for St. Thomas Elementary School in Nepean.
The ministry approved requests for an administrative review of the board's processes. Cooke, a former Ontario Education Minister, consulted members of the accommodation review committee, petitioners, the school board and people who participated in the process.
Decisions about student accommodations - including school closures - are the responsibility of locally elected school boards. Boards were required to develop accommodation review processes that comply with the government's Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline which emphasize consultation, transparency and local accountability. Administrative reviews help communities and boards fulfill those core principles.
- The ministry's Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline mandates minimum timelines for consultation and an evaluation process based on the value of a school to its students and the community.
- The guideline helps direct boards during pupil accommodation reviews, which are required in most circumstances when a school closure is considered.
- The ministry has no authority to overturn school closure decisions or delay their implementation.
- Dave Cooke has performed other independent reviews of school closure processes, providing valuable feedback to school boards, communities and the ministry.
“I want to thank everyone who co-operated with Mr. Cooke in this review. It is clear that the board and the community take their responsibility to provide the best possible accommodations and programs for its students very seriously.”
“School closures often become very emotional community issues. After careful review of the board policy and the process it followed, I must conclude that the Ottawa Catholic School Board followed its board-approved policy and acted in the best interest of its students.”