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Drastic changes to County schools in draft scenarios to battle declining enrolment

HPEDSBDrastic changes in Prince Edward County schools are among options on the table for the Hastings and Prince Edward School Board to fight declining enrolment.

School consolidations and closures are being considered board-wide in a draft plan – containing no specific recommendations – and awaiting public comment.

One scenario consolidates the County’s seven elementary schools into three; another suggests Prince Edward Collegiate become a kindergarten to Grade 12 school, plus three elementary schools. In other scenarios, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute could change into a Grades 7-12, or to a kindergarten to Grade 12 model.

Several strategies suggest consolidating schools and selling off or leasing surplus properties – as was done with Athol and South Marysburgh schools. Athol became a JK to Grade 8 school in September 2011 and South Marysburgh school was closed.

In a Grade 7-12 model for County schools, enrolment at PECI would increase by approximately 300 students. Renewal needs for PECI are $16.6 million with a K-12 scenario, allowing a capacity of 1,239. That model would require an addition to the building or construction of a new facility. The draft pan notes PECI can accommodate an additional 600 or more elementary students – the remaining could be accommodated at elementary schools in the County.

In all scenarios, it is noted considerations on busing and transportation are necessary.

The County’s seven elementary schools (all K-8) have a combined capacity of 56 per cent with a surplus capacity of 1,100 students. The draft plan indicates “renewal needs” of five of the schools amounts to almost $30 million over the next 10 years.

In the scenario of consolidation of the seven schools into three, suggested locations are Picton, one in the southern portion and one in northern/western portion.

PECI can accommodate an additonal 600 or more elementary students. Athol-South is the only school serving the southern portion and can accommodate 179 students before an addition would be required. Pinecrest and CML serve the central and western areas of the County and can accommodate 959 students. The draft states both require significant investment to meet “renewal needs” which exceed $12 million. The draft notes construction of new schools would be the preferred option in that scenario.

Over the past decade, elementary school enrolment throughout the the board has declined by 21 per cent
and secondary by 26 per cent.

Board-wide, projections indicate elementary enrolment to decrease to approximately 9,950 students by 2028-2029 – a two per cent decline from existing figures – resulting in approximately 2,858 surplus spaces.

Secondary projections are a decrease to approximately 4,500 students by 2028-2029 – a 12 per cent decline from existing figures resulting in approximately 3,300 surplus spaces.

Ontario school boards are mainly funded on a per-student basis through grants from Ministry of Education. And when enrolment declines, so does funding.

The HPEDSB serves approximately 15,100 students at 38 elementary and eight secondary schools with 1,800 teaching and support staff. The district covers Maynooth to the north, Deseronto to the east, Prince Edward County to the south and Quinte West to the west. All schools are involved in consolidation and closure scenarios.

The draft – including scenarios for all the board’s schools – is available for public comment until Friday, June 10. It will be presented to trustees at a Student Enrolment School Capacity Committee meeting June 13 and again at the public board meeting June 20.
The draft plan is available at http://www.hpedsb.on.ca/ and any feedback can be sent to directors.office@hpedsb.on.ca before the June 10 deadline

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  1. Marnie says:

    Judge Judy endeavors to keep order in this court of public opinion. What’s the sentence for off-topic in a no-digression zone?

  2. Fred says:

    Thanks for the comic relief Judy. How are your Turbines doing?

  3. judy kennedy says:

    much hilarity ensues…..

  4. Fred says:

    Lol; Marnie I meant the comment police were out monitoring off topic posts.

  5. Marnie says:

    Based on the speed at which a lot of people drive it’s good to know that the police are out. Many seem to think that 80 is just a suggested number that they are free to exceed as they see fit. The OPP can’t win. If they are not spotted around and about we complain. If they are on the lookout for speeders and catch some there are objections to their sudden visibility.

  6. Fred says:

    Topic police are back out. Must not have the quota for June. School is about out for the summer!lol

  7. judy kennedy says:

    okay-am I the only one who has noticed that all the comments since yesterday have nothing to do with school?

  8. ADJ says:

    To Shay again…my bad. I use expressions I guess not everyone fully understands.”not much hassle” was in reference to not having to get permits, pay EI, CPP,compensation,holiday pay etc. Get my drift? Oops! there I go again! I know first hand how much work is involved in getting wood ready for the stove.You handle the same log five times before drawing the ashes.
    Don’t know how this all got blown out of proportion.

  9. Fred says:

    Nope, that’s not the one.

  10. Shay says:

    Your comment about a very very comfortable farmer trying to make a buck selling wood on East Lake is what I was referring to ….Its actually a 9 year old boy and his dad pulling the logs out of the woods,cutting the wood, bagging the wood etc. The comment about “without much hassle” clearly has no idea how much work is involved in “just selling wood”. I understand there is alot going on, on East lake Road and maybe I do not know all the details but what I do know is that people should not assume and past judgement on things they know nothing about.

  11. Gary says:

    And your take on bylaws being followed or enforced at the Councilors resort on Log Cabin Road? Mobiles packed like sardines. If it is legal fine but a resident has expressed a concern and that he is being treated differently. Air needs to be cleared on this one.

  12. observer says:

    No. Bylaws are bylaws. Otherwise why have them at all? Good for Forrester for trying to enforce the rules.

  13. Gary says:

    How does the continued development on Outlet Pt road get approved when it involves a Councilor? How do emergency vehicles reach the point at East Lake? Should an inspection take place as the resident suggests?

  14. ADJ says:

    To Shay,,I was not referring to the selling of eggs!! far from it.
    Egg money or pin money is an old expression meaning a bit of extra cash earned for other purchasing. Selling roadside all for it! Good on ya! Tell Forrester to take a hike.

  15. Fred says:

    Oh, I know quite a bit of factual information on this. But you fill us in from your perspective Shay. Seems like a lot going on, on the East Lake Road. Read the letter to the editor in today’s Gazette in regards to the Athol Councilor and an East Lake resident.

  16. Shay says:

    To Fred: Hi There to the people who have something to say about selling wood/eggs on East Lake road maybe you should know the facts before you make a comment you know nothing about!

  17. Paul Cole says:

    Again Susan I agree with some of your points however the local economy rents in particular have changed dramatically it used to be feasible when the cost of living in The County was lower for folks to have jobs in Belleville and commute back and forth. With higher rents and the cost of fuel people are just moving out of The County

  18. Susan says:

    The whole economy has changed. Industry jobs are a pipe dream. The cost of energy (thank the GEA) is driving business out of more preferred areas. We are lucky to have the retiree’s and tourist trade. Lot’s of opportunities for the folks clever enough to tap in. Declining enrolment is all over the place.

  19. Paul Cole says:

    I agree Dennis its a delicate balancing act but it has been done in the past with small and medium sized (industrial) businesses working along side tourism based businesses The County thrived. Hopefully County Council will find that happy median again because Prince Edward County was a great place to raise a young Family and it can be again once costs of living here are reigned in

  20. Dennis Fox says:

    If our recent local news is an indicator, then we have an idea of where we are going for the foreseeable future – nowhere. The only real housing development taking place is “The Wellings” – then the major grants recently announced are for the PEC Learning Council and the Hospice – then we have the Mayors’ Golf Tournament for the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, these are all great things, but not events that will attract young families – many are aimed at providing health care to seniors. As I said prior this declining enrolment problem is across the province there is no quick fix. What is different here is that we do not have the economic depth and diversity compared to other communities – such things as tourism and food events cannot carry this community and they are businesses that are sensitive to economic changes too. PEC needs help from higher levels of government to attract diverse businesses – the trick is how do we do that and still maintain our living environment that will attract young families?

  21. Susan says:

    Try the chickadees from Ostrander Point for the delivery. Here they are quite full of natural green energy!

  22. Fred says:

    We can’t fund everything. The Province is 300 Billion in debt. Who’s going to pay that.

  23. Paul Cole says:

    The cost of living in The County is high Gary rents are high here compared to Belleville, affordable housing is lacking in PEC for young Families…

  24. judy kennedy says:

    I’ll send the chickadees with the points. Hope they make it.

  25. Gary Mooney says:

    The problem of younger families leaving the County cannot be solved quickly. It will take at least a decade of significant effort to attract younger people in significant numbers. And that will take a concerted effort on several fronts.

    In the meantime, services specific to families with kids — e.g. schools — will decline to a minimum.

    People keep talking about the absence of high-paying jobs here. High-paying jobs are necessary in the GTA to offset the very high cost of living. Here, not so much.

    We need to work with what we’ve got, and that is tourism, wineries, specialty foods, retirement community, plus a few industrial operations.

  26. ADJ says:

    I’d like to think that $5.00 bag of wood is pin money/egg money for the grandkids of the family to teach them about supply and demand.But it could be fun money for the monthly trip to the casino. Not unreal to think you might sell 100 bags on a long weekend. It’s cash in hand without much hassle.No downside to this is there? Some would see it as a service necessary and enjoy the meet and greet of the paying customer. Actually becomes a venue to renew old friendships year after year.

  27. Fred says:

    Hard to make a buck. We have very, very comfortable farmers on East Lake Rd selling wood by the bag to get an extra $5.00 here and there.

  28. ADJ says:

    Hilarious Marnie…I love it!!
    And to Dennis,,I’m thinking your a fairly intelligent, well spoken person who could think of several self starter jobs here in the County that no one else has tried or that has little to none competition.Plug in that thinking cap and lay it on us.Doesn’t have to be a job that is self supporting…there are part-time grunt jobs still available but the new idea could supplement the income.
    On the topic of startup funding that’s a bit of a unknown for me but there used to be seed money available for the entrepeneur(sp.) I think manpower would be a good starting place.The defeatest idea won’t fly with me,,,never has and never will. I’m done now.

  29. Susan says:

    Good one Marnie! LOL. This is all on topic from water to taxes to birth control to pencils.

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