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MONTREAL, JANUARY 25, 2007 -- The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Council of Commissioners have voted to close two elementary schools, McLearon in Point-aux-Trembles and Frederick Banting in Montreal North, as of June 30, 2007. Two others which were being considered for closure, St. Gabriel in Point St. Charles and Carlyle in Town of Mount Royal, will remain open.

A period of consultation involving the governing boards for each school affected, the Central Parents Committee and the specific municipalities and boroughs where they are situated took place overa five month process. These partners were given the opportunity to present briefs which served as the basis for public hearings and discussion in early December.

An extensive demographic study of the EMSB network was prepared by the Long Range Planning Committee. With data clearly demonstrating how the EMSB is operating too many facilities in the youth sector. Over the last two years the EMSB has experienced a sharp drop in enrolment of almost 2,000 students. This is due to a variety of reasons, including a declining birth rate, families with children moving out of the EMSB territory and the introduction of Bill 104 by the Quebec government. The latter excludes studies completed in the Quebec private school system as a way to gain English public system eligibility. It is anticipated that the EMSB youth sector student population could drop by at least 2,700 more students in five years.

Projections by Baragar, the demographics company used by the EMSB and school boards across the country for such purposes, are based on enrolment and on three demographic criteria within the catchment area: the birth (population) history, the participation rate and the migration rate. The data includes the birth registry from the province of Quebec, the child tax benefit (baby bonus) from Revenue Canada and Revenue Quebec, and the Canadian family allowance files of children ages one to 17. Housing statistics by themselves are not true indicators that the schoolís enrolment is anticipated to increase. Other factors need to be considered. This includes the type of housing, the market it is targeting and the eligibility of new families to English education. Therefore, Baragar projections take into account the migration rate that measures the net impact on the underlying population caused by children moving into and out of a catchment area.

Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213