board eyes poor school on prime land
On June 14th close to 80 community members, parents, children and teachers gathered in Toronto’s oldest residential neighbourhood (Ward 14 downtown) to learn that community-based schools were to be shuffled and reconfigured if a committee and staff recommendation to close a key school were to be adopted.
Regent Park/Duke of York PS serves children of Canada’s oldest working class public housing development in lower Cabbagetown, as well as drawing students from Corktown and the Gooderham and Worts neighbourhood. Allegedly declining in enrolment, the area is being dramatically transformed by massive family housing expansion from the West Don Lands, the East Bay Front right up to the heart of Regent Park. Perplexed by this development, meeting participants in a straw vote found only 8 participants, including at least one board staffer, in favour of the recommendation to close ANY school in the area.
Said one parent noted that she bought on Winchester street in order to send her child to French emersion at her neighbourhood school across the street, …….”and now you are saying she won’t be able to be accommodated in our school.?! Our school is what gives life to this neighbourhood.”
A former president of the Gooderham & Worts Neighbourhood Association pointed out that across the city’s neighbourhoods, housing prices plummet when schools are slated to be closed.
Board staff promised a further meeting to discuss the recommendations on June 27th but admitted they couldn’t confirm this date and were not sure the extent to which any upcoming meeting could be publicized.
All staff recommendations will got to the November 2011 regular tdsb board meeting for decision.
more information: sos@campaignforpubliceducation