|EMSB MAINTAINS THAT NDG BUILDING CSDM WANTS IS NOT ON THE TABLE|
MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 28, 2014- The English Montreal School Board has reached out to assist the Commission Scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) over its need to find a home for students at École Sainte-Catherine-de-Sienne in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. However, the building they want next door is not up for discussion.
École Sainte-Catherine-de-Sienne must close next June for two to three years because of major renovation work. Parents and CSDM officials have asked the EMSB to vacate the neighbouring building, which houses two Alternative high schools called Outreach and Focus. “That option is not on the table,” maintains EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini. “I have met with my counterpart from the CSDM and will do so again on December 1. We have reached out to them with a helping hand, but I am not pleased to see their representatives continually try to bring the building they want into play when we have made it clear that cannot happen.”
Ms. Mancini has consulted with EMSB senior staff and Joseph Lalla, the commissioner for NDG and Montreal West, and it is clear that the two Alternative schools cannot be relocated. Over the years a lot of effort has been made to ensure that they achieve their objective of keeping these “at risk” students in school. “We are very proud of having the highest graduation rate of any public school board in the province,” said Ms. Mancini. “It is because we maintain programs like the Alternative School Network that we achieve such results.”
The EMSB sympathizes with the plight of the CSDM and the parents and students of École Sainte-Catherine-de-Sienne. “We have offered them two buildings of ours outside of the immediate territory of NDG,” said Ms. Mancini. “We are also looking at possible options for cohabitation at a few NDG locations so clearly we want to help.”
Michael J. Cohen