New Guidelines to Strengthen Facilities for Students
The Ministry of Education is releasing two revised guidelines to provide school boards with effective tools to address underused school space and improve learning environments for students.
The revised Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline and Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline are informed by extensive feedback from stakeholders. These two guidelines support school boards in making more efficient use of school space, while ensuring communities have the opportunity to provide valuable feedback to school boards.
In addition, the new guidelines enhance opportunities for cooperation between school boards, municipalities and other community organizations when it comes to addressing excess school space.
The Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline serves as a provincewide minimum requirement that school boards use to develop their own policies for pupil accommodation reviews.
A pupil accommodation review is the public consultation process undertaken when a school board is deciding how to reorganize a group of schools to best serve student achievement and well-being, and to manage underused school space.
Highlights of the new Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline include:
- Improved flexibility to address local circumstances by removing a one-size-fits-all approach to pupil accommodation reviews. Now, pupil accommodation reviews can take two forms - a standard review process and an optional modified review process.
- A standard accommodation review process, lasting a minimum of five months, has an accommodation review committee and at least two public meetings.
- An optional modified accommodation review process, lasting a minimum of three months, includes at least one public meeting. This optional process is designed to support school boards, parents and communities when local circumstances (as defined by the board) would support a shorter process.
- School boards are now required to seek feedback from their local municipal government(s) and community organizations during an accommodation review.
The new Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline updates and replaces the Facility Partnerships Guideline of 2010.
The Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline establishes a more formal consultation process between school boards, municipal governments and other community organizations in the planning process around potential underused school space, green space and parkland. For example, this guideline requires that capital planning information be shared between school boards, municipalities and other community organizations in a meeting held at least once a year. In addition, school boards must keep municipalities and other community organizations up to date with information that supports potential partnerships.
When schools are used efficiently, school boards can direct more funding toward student achievement and well-being, rather than maintaining excess space. The new Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline and Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline will help school boards to support student needs and encourage stronger community planning processes, while ensuring fiscal sustainability.