Meaford will have only two public schools by September.
At a meeting on March 22, the Bluewater School Board voted to close Meaford Community School and consolidate public schools in town at St. Vincent/Euphrasia School and Georgian Bay Secondary School. SVE will be a k-3 school and GBSS will be a 4-12 facility. The board will also be making an application to the province for a brand new k-12 school.
“The vote was not a surprise,” said local school board trustee Linda Hamill. “The board was unanimous all the way through and nothing came up to change our minds.”
MCS will close on June 30.
“MCS has a rich past and has been a vital part of Meaford. We won’t forget that and we will remember,” said Hamill. “But, we can’t give local students the best quality education until we have solved the space issue.”
Declining student enrollment left the board in a tight spot – it had too much school space and not enough students. The board had to consolidate space to save money on building maintenance.
Hamill said transition planning has already begun.
“It’s going to be fast and furious. A committee has already been formed at the board to look at the details,” she said. “This will move quite quickly and we’ll make sure everybody is okay.”
Hamill said she doesn’t expect the school consolidation to affect the number of teachers in the schools, however she said there could be job reductions elsewhere.
“There might be savings in administration and there might be savings in custodial,” she said, but didn’t want to speculate about details. “The big savings is in the amount of money we have to spend to maintain the buildings.”
No decision has been made about the future of the MCS property.
Hamill said the application for a new k-12 school would go to the province quickly.
“A lot of work has been done, we needed (the board’s) final approval (of the school consolidation),” she said. “I expect the ministry will be working on it very soon. We’re in a good position. We meet the criteria and the ministry has money set aside for new schools.”
To view the Final Staff Report and other information regarding the Modified Accommodation Review – Meaford Area Group of Schools, please visit the 2015-16 Accommodation Reviews section of the board website: www.bwdsb.on.ca