Administrative Review Completed For Near North District School Board
Ontario Government Accepts Independent Facilitator's Report
Independent facilitator Margaret Wilson has concluded that the process the Near North District School Board followed for its accommodation review of schools in North Bay was satisfactory.
Wilson's report was accepted by the Ministry of Education.
The ministry approved a request for an administrative review of the board's process after reviewing concerns raised by local community members.
While Wilson's report noted instances where the board was not fully compliant with its accommodation review policy, she determined that they had no effect on the outcome of the accommodation review. Wilson's report also provides the board with recommendations to improve its accommodation review procedures to ensure more transparency. Wilson, a former registrar and CEO of the Ontario College of Teachers, consulted with the local accommodation review committee, the school board, and other interested community members.
Decisions about student accommodations - including school closures - are the responsibility of locally elected school boards. Boards are required to develop an accommodation review process that complies with the government's Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline, which emphasizes community consultation, transparency and local accountability. Administrative reviews help communities and boards fulfill those core principles.
- Since 2002-03, the Ontario government has increased Grants for Student Needs funding to the Near North District School Board by about 22 per cent to support local students.
- Since 2002-03, the Near North District School Board has opened two new schools, with another under construction.
- Final decisions regarding school closures rest with the local board of trustees.
- The ministry encourages students, parents and community members to get involved in the accommodation review process as local feedback is important to a thorough review.
- 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.