MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 25, 2001– One school could close and two others merge if recommendations from the English Montreal School Board’s (EMSB) Long Range Planning Committee are accepted.
Notice of these possible major changes for the 2002-2003 academic year was given at a meeting of the EMSB Council of Commissioners on September 25, 2001. The governing boards of the schools affected will be invited to present their views on the matter at hearings in December, following which a final decision is to be made at a meeting in January. In accordance with the Education Act, the EMSB must also consult the Central Parents’ Committee (CPC).
Due to declining enrolment, M.I.N.D. (Moving in New Directions) High School is being considered for closure. The Long Range Planning Committee is also recommending that Bancroft and Nazareth Elementary Schools, both situated in the Plateau area, be merged. An amalgamation is also being proposed between Sir Wilfrid Laurier Junior High School and Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North. Should the latter change occur, the Long Range Planning Committee is looking at the relocation of the General Vanier Adult Education Centre to the Sir Wilfrid Laurier facility.
The Long Range Planning Committee’s rationale for these recommendations is as follows:M.I.N.D., which presently occupies the third floor of the Bancroft building, has seen its enrolment numbers drop to 58 students. That is the lowest number since this program was developed 26 years ago as an alternative for self-motivated pupils opting for a change from the larger environment of a mainstream high school. M.I.N.D. is geared towards students in Grades 9 to 11. This year it was unable to attract enough students to fill a Grade 9 class.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier presently has a Grade 7 and 8 student population of 437 in a building which can accommodate 1,350. Lester B. Pearson, meanwhile, has 575 students in a facility capable of housing 1,375 pupils. It is a senior high school, with Grades 9, 10 and 11 and the eventual home of virtually all Sir Wilfrid Laurier grads. Paul VI, a special needs school for students with diagnosed learning challenges, also uses part of the building for its 73 pupils.
In regard to Bancroft and Nazareth, the Long Range Planning Committee is recommending that the enrolments be consolidated at either facility. Both schools offer the same Core French program. Bancroft presently has 172 students in a building which can house 729. Nazareth’s enrolment is 183 in a facility that can accommodate 284. That could be expanded to 384 by creating four additional classrooms. Projections show that the enrolment at Nazareth has peaked and in 2004-2005 it will begin to take a downward trend. The Bancroft population is also in decline and no growth is anticipated.
The General Vanier Adult Centre, located on 20th Avenue in Villeray, has a total of 800 students: 500 during the day and 300 at night. Moving into the much larger Sir Wilfrid Laurier facility would enable the EMSB’s Adult Education and Vocational Services (AEVS) Department to expand. Programs in the vocational sector could be consolidated and much needed space made available for a centralized AEVS archival system.
Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213