School closure process drafted

The Northwest Catholic District School Board will vote on its draft Accommodation Review Procedure (ARP) tonight, which outlines the process for how the board decides on school closures.
Last year, the Ministry of Education set out new guidelines regarding school closure policy to ensure thorough public consultation.
Boards across the province are required to submit a formal ARP to the ministry by the end of April.
While the ministry set out guidelines for school closure policy, each board has some say in how each factor is weighted.
For example, when considering closing a school, the board must take into account the school’s value to students, the board, the community, and the local economy.
Each board is allowed to weigh those four factors as they see fit.
In the local Catholic board’s draft procedure, the value to the student is weighted at 40 percent, to the board 30-39 percent, and to the community and the economy a minimum of 10 percent each.
“When considering the closure or consolidation of schools, the decision must be made with the full involvement of the local community and be based on a broad range of criteria regarding quality of education for the school’s students,” the draft procedure reads.
“It is the intent to have the board consider the value of a school to its students and to the local community when considering school closure and consolidation,” it adds.
A school may be considered for potential closure if it has under capacity enrolment (i.e., less than 50 percent), or where sufficient space exists in another school within the school’s community, or where the school qualifies as prohibitive to repair due to poor physical condition.
Also tonight, the Catholic board will hear a report on its Aboriginal Self-Identification policy which started in September.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the board office next to St. Francis School.

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