Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gordon McGregor Public School Slated For Closure

Last night the Greater Essex County District School Board was presented with Direct Warren Kennedy and Superintendent Terry Lyons proposal to close Gordon McGregor Public School and  Forester High School.  The report found that  Herman’s utilization rate is 60 per cent and projected to decline to 50 per cent in the next five years.

The report predicts increased enrollment at McCallum because of the popularity of French immersion and says the school will be unable to accommodate such growth.
Herman has several specialized learning programs, including French immersion, according to the report. If the recommendation was accepted and Herman took on McCallum students, the report projects the utilization rate would increase to more than 80 per cent. The kindergarten to Grade 12 program at Herman would depend on provincial funding approval, the report said.
In addition to moving McCallum students to Herman to ease enrollment pressures,the report recommended that, effective September 2013, the western boundary for McCallum be adjusted so that all students living west of Walker Road would attend the Giles Campus French immersion school.
Also recommended was to change the boundaries for David Maxwell school so that all students living east of Pillette Road be moved to Coronation school. That would solve low utilization rates at Coronation and high utilization at Maxwell, according to the report.
Ford City BIA chairman Randy Diestelmann said to solve overcrowding in some areas, school closing may be the only option, but closing McGregor wouldn’t be right because it is on the heritage registry. Also, sending students from McGregor to McCallum would mean most of them will have to bus to school.
He said closing Maxwell and McCallum would make more sense. He said McGregor, the largest of the Herman feeder schools, could accommodate students from Maxwell. McGregor is within walking distance of Maxwell, so not as many students would have to be bused.
“At a school like McGregor, you could stabilize the entire enrolment rate for the entire area in the Herman family of schools,” said Diestelmann. “It has the best property, it requires very little money to actually get the renewal done and if you look at everything, there could be savings.”
The Ford City Neighbourhood Renewal presented to the school board asking to reconsider their position and reverse the closure back in June.  We began a petition which can be found here: Gordon McGregor Petition
The board is expected to vote on the recommendations Nov. 19.
If you would like to find out more information you can call our offices or contact the school board.