Ontario schools - Changing demographics role in declining student enrolment - school consolidation - savings for reinvestment

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Ontario schools - Changing demographics role in declining student enrolment - school consolidation - savings for reinvestment

In Torstar today, there is an article that discusses changing demographics role in declining student enrolment and need for consolidation so cost savings can be reinvested. Source.

Changing demographics in central Erin Mills, including more baby boomers, fewer children of school age and smaller numbers of Catholics moving in has led to low enrolments in Catholic schools.

"The population and demographics are changing," said Bruce Campbell, spokesperson for the school board. "You have to be Catholic to go to a Catholic elementary school, and so we have found our enrolment dwindling."


Back in September, only 103 students were enrolled at Blessed Trinity although its capacity is closer to 300. Four other schools in the area were also at less than 50 per cent capacity. 


The closure is expected to save the board an estimated $160,400. 

So consolidating and closing schools does have significant cost savings that can be reinvested into student programming (as I originally suggested and was disputed in a previous thread). 

That this consolidation is actually not significant enough as with 3 other schools with less than 50 per cent capacity, even when transferred students are taken into consideration, will mean that the 3 remaining schools will still be under capacity. 

That one needs to consider that closer in larger urban centres, such as Mississauga, may be easier because bussing to a new school within a like board is not necessarily that big a deal (schools are closer because of density of population) but as one moves to outer areas, mid to small cities, rural and north, long bussing to elsewhere (out of town) is a problem for communities and kids/families. As one notes here, kids who are not Catholic can be denied attending a local school and thus forced to go outside of the community - as they do not have choice. 



As one notes here, kids who are not Catholic can be denied attending a local school and thus forced to go outside of the community - as they do not have choice. 

Primary school kids in the town where I grew up didn't have to be Catholic to be sent to designated public schools, and sometimes located farther away by several miles than the nearest ones for maximum inconvenience.  And the Catholic school I went to took in a few non-Catholic kids who were shunned by the public school system, especially the ones from troubled families.



Fidel, the public schools cannot deny children to attend. I do not know your age but this is 2008. The difference is that the separate system can deny children if they choose to, and the public school system can't. So in a separate school with low enrolment they might take in non-catholic students to support their enrolment and the funding it brings. However, when the separate school enrolment is full, they can deny that child.

Again, in the public school system they cannot. Those are the facts. 

See, source:  Competition among schools heats up as enrolment dips

"Every student comes with provincial funding and that means boards and schools are looking for ways to keep students in seats, even if it means "creative poaching" from other boards, says Liberal MPP Dave Levac, co-chairman of a working group on declining enrolment set to report back to the province by the end of the year.

"It's the elephant in the room," says Mr. Levac, who was a principal in the Brantford area before entering politics. "We've got aggressive principals out there who are fighting for their schools. They don't want to see their school diminished.""Declining enrolment has created ripples all over the system -- longer bus rides more split classes, fewer extracurricular activities and teachers teaching outside their specialties.


Nothing can be done to change the demographic trend behind it, says Eleanor Newman, Mr. Levac's co-chair in the provincial working group and the director of education at the Renfrew County District School Board, where enrolment has dropped 14 per cent over the past five years."

"Meanwhile, last week, the Catholic board, which closed two schools last year and is reviewing another, broke ground for a high school in fast-growing Riverside South. When it opens in September, it will be the first high school for the new community and it will give the Catholic board a jump on the public board when it comes to attracting new students." But director of education James McCracken denies that the board's strategy is to lure students away from the competition.

"It's always been our history to get into a community first and become part of that community. That's the way we do business," he says. "I'm not interested in poaching."

SNIP"Mr. Levac believes education in Ontario doesn't have to become an all-out competition for bodies. The animals don't have to stand at the watering hole eyeing each other warily.

"It can be like the Lion King and we can all stand around and sing Kumbaya and make it better."

And that is what we need a consolidation of buildings so there is one community school where all children can attend without preference or privilege, where all children are welcome and feel they belong and are not marked as different. 

Did you know that 70-75% of families using publicly funded Catholic Schools these days are considered "unchurched" according to Fr. James T. Mulligan in "Catholic Education: Ensuring A Future" (Ottawa, Novelis, 2005).  Thus, when a separate school closes in a community those children of parents who are "unchurched" have the option of attending the public school; however, if the public school closes, their option is to bussed out of town.

It seems that if one thinks about what is important quality programming, location, facility, and transportation as the primacy, than creating a unified system makes sense - so all kids are treated the same. 




Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!