Administrative Reviews Completed in Halton District School Board
Ministry of Education Accepts Independent Facilitator’s Report
The Ministry of Education has received and accepted the results of an examination into the accommodation review process undertaken by the Halton District School Board that resulted in the closure of two secondary schools in Burlington.
Independent facilitator Margaret Wilson's report highlights that the board's review process was open to the community and equipped trustees with the diversity of perspectives and information needed.
In September 2017, the Ministry of Education approved requests for an administrative review of the accommodation review process related to Robert Bateman High School and Lester B. Pearson High School. Wilson, a former Registrar and CEO of the Ontario College of Teachers, consulted with the local accommodation review committees, the school board and people who participated in the process.
Decisions about student accommodations are the responsibility of locally elected school boards. Boards are required to develop accommodation review processes that comply with the government's Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline, which emphasizes consultation, transparency and local accountability. Administrative reviews help communities and boards fulfill those core principles.
- The Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline mandates minimum timelines for consultation and inclusion of the local community through representation on the Accommodation Review Committee and through public meetings.
- 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 pupil accommodation decisions or delay their implementation.
- Margaret Wilson has extensive experience in the education sector, including 17 years as a classroom teacher and more than 20 years in senior executive positions at teacher federations and education organizations. She has served on many Ministry of Education committees and task forces, and has previously been an independent facilitator for Administrative Reviews of school boards’ accommodation review processes.
“I thank Ms. Wilson for her final report. I also want to acknowledge both school communities and the Halton District School Board for their co-operation during this process, and their ongoing commitment to the success and well-being of students in Burlington. Our government will support the school board, working in collaboration with the community, to make sure that the proper transitions are in place to support students and their unique needs.”
“I understand the deep feelings of the petitioners and am grateful for their openness in our meetings. Their concerns for special needs students, in particular, are genuine. While I recognize their concerns, I also believe that the board has made a responsible decision on behalf of Burlington secondary students. I hope that parents and the board will now work constructively to ensure a smooth transition, not only for special needs students but for all affected students in all programs.”