Many area schools over­ca­pac­ity

North York par­ents con­cerned over board rec­om­men­da­tions

Bayview Post - - NEWS | NEIGHBORHOOD -

Steadily in­creas­ing en­rol­ment at six North York schools has forced the Toronto Dis­trict School Board (TDSB) to launch a bound­ary re­view. But pro­posed so­lu­tions for ov­eren­rol­ment have left par­ents less than sat­is­fied, par­tic­u­larly at William Lyon Macken­zie Col­le­giate In­sti­tute and Dublin Heights El­e­men­tary and Mid­dle School.

The TDSB has iden­ti­fied 15 planned de­vel­op­ments within the Dublin Heights and Macken­zie C.I. at­ten­dance ar­eas, which will add at least 263 ad­di­tional el­e­men­tary aged stu­dents and 152 new high school aged stu­dents to the area. Dublin Heights has added six porta­bles in the past three years, and its wash­room, cafe­te­ria and gyms are no longer able han­dle the in­creased num­ber of stu­dents.

“They’ve had to can­cel our spirit cer­e­monies be­cause all of the kids can’t fit into the gym,” said Dublin Heights coun­cil co-chair Mar­lene El­li­son. “There’s no co­he­sive­ness in the school any­more; ev­ery­thing is di­vided.”

Nearby Macken­zie C.I. is also feel­ing the strain: al­ready at 154 per cent ca­pac­ity, the high school is ex­pected to in­crease to 171 per cent ca­pac­ity by 2028.

Prin­ci­pals from af­fected schools formed a TDSB Lo­cal Fea­si­bil­ity Team (LFT) to brain­storm so­lu­tions. Af­ter meet­ing last spring, the LFT sug­gested adding Grades 7 and 8 to Sum­mit Heights Pub­lic School, which would lessen the in­take on Dublin Heights. For Macken­zie C.I., the LFT rec­om­mended elim­i­nat­ing op­tional at­ten­dance, and adding a se­cond lunch to fit more stu­dents into shared spa­ces. This doesn’t sit well with par­ents who pointed out that many of the school’s clubs and pro­grams take place over lunch.

“We don’t see that the split SHEP­PARD AVE. W. lunches solve any­thing,” said Jeff Pekar, co-chair of Macken­zie’s par­ent coun­cil, adding that class­rooms would re­main just as over­crowded. “In fact it cre­ates more longer term prob­lems than it solves.”

A Pro­gram Area Re­view Team (PART) was formed with mem­bers of the com­mu­nity in Septem­ber to re­view the LFT’s sug­ges­tions. Progress has stalled af­ter three meet­ings due to a lack of con­sen­sus.

“We’re not ad­dress­ing enough of the is­sue,” said El­li­son.

Fac­ing a di­vided pub­lic and un­able to present an unan­i­mous so­lu­tion, the PART post­poned pub­lic meet­ings un­til 2019.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to hear­ing from stu­dents and par­ents about pos­si­ble so­lu­tions to en­sure schools in the area are well­po­si­tioned for fu­ture growth,” said TDSB spokesper­son Ryan Bird.

Co-chair of Macken­zie C.I. par­ent coun­cil

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