|EMSB TO HOLD HEARINGS FOR TWO PROPOSED RELOCATION AND COHABITATION SCENARIOS|
MONTREAL, DECEMBER 4, 2013 – The English Montreal School Board Council of Commissioners will hold public hearings on Wednesday, December 4 (7 p.m.) for proposals which would see two elementary schools, Coronation in Côte des Neiges and Sinclair Laird in Park Extension, open up their doors to two alternative schools for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Plans call for Coronation to cohabitate with Programme Mile-End, with Sinclair Laird sharing space with St. Raphael School.
Students who come to Programme Mile-End High School have had unsatisfactory experiences in regular high schools and are looking for a positive change. They are mature due to life experiences. Because Programme Mile-End is a small school within the EMSB’s secondary alternative network, students get the individual attention they need in classes and in tutorial sessions. Programme Mile-End currently operates out of the High School of Montreal Adult Education Centre in the Plateau, which requires more space.
In 2008-2009 Coronation had 319 students while Sinclair Laird had 247. The present enrolment is 212 and 167 respectively. Coronation only occupies 29 percent of functional capacity while Sinclair Laird is at 54 percent, indicating there is more than sufficient room for cohabitation.
The Commission Scolaire de Montréal had previously indicated their interest in the Sinclair Laird facility as a candidate for a cohabitation arrangement,” explains EMSB Deputy Director General Paola Miniaci, who chairs the Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC). “Neither scenario had gone further than ‘for discussion’ purposes. In that ‘charity begins at home,’ relocating St. Raphael to the Sinclair Laird facility makes sense. With regard to the Coronation facility a decade ago Coronation had 550 students. With more occupants in the facility, the students will feel a renewed energy and experience positive synergy within the walls of the building.”
Ms. Miniaci added that the EMSB has had positive experiences of cohabitation in facilities that are shared by elementary and alternative schools. Presently, St. Gabriel Elementary and Vezina High School cohabitate in Pointe St. Charles while Bancroft Elementary and M.I.N.D. High do the same in the Plateau. “These arrangements have worked very well over the long-term and have not given rise to any problematic situations between the student bodies,” Ms. Miniaci states.
On an annual basis, the EMSB LRPC reviews and analyzes the network of schools and centres and then establishes a three-year plan for the rational and optimal use of the immovables in the system. The review is based on September 30 enrolments, demographic projections, requirement for educational programs, financial constraints, transportation services and any other matters that may affect the number of student places required to properly house the students and to provide adequate services for its clientele.
At a meeting of the EMSB Council of Commissioners last January, a governance orientation was adopted to determine proposed recommendations for major school change for the 2014-2015 academic year. The LRPC was given the mandate to examine specifically for the purpose of relocation, and keeping a minimum presence in key areas of EMSB network to maintain its footprint regardless of the enrolment, those schools that would facilitate the strategic orientation for Adult Education and Vocational Services (AEVS).
Noting the reluctance of the Council of Commissioners to close schools and by a resolution to only entertain the relocation of programs, the LRPC has submitted these two recommendations for 2014-15 which address the immediate needs for AEVS.
In conformity with the Education Act, the EMSB must consult with the affected governing boards of the schools and centres, the Central Parents’ Committee and affected municipalities and boroughs. They were all invited to submit their views and be present at the hearings. A final decision will be made by the Council of Commissioners on January 8, 2014 (7:30 p.m.).
Michael J. Cohen