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Four schools named in potential closure options: Central, Pearson, Bateman & Nelson

Public meetings Feb. 28 & March 7

Burlington Central High School, which also houses Gr 7/8s.

Burlington’s Program & Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) has identified six options to be presented at public meetings that name four Halton District School Board schools for potential closure, either on their own or in combination with one other school. The schools are Central & Pearson, Bateman & Pearson, Bateman, or Nelson. There is also a “no schools close” option.

Lester B Pearson High School

About the PARC

The PARC was struck to deal with 1,800 empty pupil spaces in Burlington secondary schools, and review options that could include closing one school, two schools, or no schools, with boundary or programming changes possible under each scenario.

Robert Bateman High School

Ultimately, the PARC does not make a recommendation or decision, and at this point it is unlikely there would be consensus on any single option. The HDSB Director of Education will receive information from the PARC and the public, and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. By majority vote, the elected trustees will make the final decision. That is expected some time in May.

The PARC is made up of two parents from each of the seven high schools in Burlington as well as each of the principals, a municipal delegate chosen by city council (the city manager), and one trustee (from Milton), with board staff providing information and resources.
Nelson High School

The group has met four times between Jan. 26 and Feb. 16 and deliberated on 30 options. A number of scenarios have been discussed throughout this time, with options discarded or refined based on input from the public, PARC members, board staff and others.

There remain six options that will go forward to the public for review and additional comment at two public meetings Feb. 28 and March 7. Details of those meetings are below. There will also be an online survey for those who cannot attend the public meetings.
The PARC will reconvene for further discussion on the options March 23 (with potential for an additional meeting to be called). PARC meetings are open to the public to attend as observers, and begin at 7pm at the J.W. Singleton Education Centre at 2050 Guelph Line.

The Six Options:

The following is a brief summary of the six options:

Option 3b: Nelson closes June 2018, program changes at Hayden & Central

(Please note that this option is a draft and may be revised.)

  • French Immersion Program removed from Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS and Burlington Central HS. Hayden FI goes to M.M. Robinson; Central FI goes to Aldershot. Central (English) catchment expands east to Walker’s Line.
  • Program Accommodation Review (PAR) will be required for the Burlington Central elementary communities.
  • FI program added to Robert Bateman HS; English catchment expands west to Walker’s Line. FI catchment extends to Guelph Line.
  • Gifted Secondary placement redirected from Nelson to Lester B. Pearson HS. Pearson catchment expands to include John William Boich PS and Kilbride PS.

RESULTS: By 2020, there will be approximately 213 available pupil places overall; south of the QEW will have a 225 available pupil places and north of the QEW to have a shortage of 12 pupil places. A reduction of 1,341 pupil places. Utilization to increase between 94% and 101%

For additional details on this option, including maps, school utilization rates from 2016 to 2026, and impacts on elementary schools visit: Option 3b

Option 4b: Robert Bateman HS Closes June 2018

  • Lester B. Pearson HS to gain International Baccalaureate (IB) program and Gifted Secondary Placement Program. Pearson catchment expands to include Florence Meares PS
  • Burlington Central HS: Boundary expands to include areas east of Guelph Line.
  • New suitable facilities to be constructed at Nelson for SC-SPED and Essentials (ESS) programming (both under SC-SPED)
  • Nelson English catchment expands to include Robert Bateman HS.
  • M.M. Robinson English boundary expands to include Kilbride PS.

RESULTS: By 2020, there will be approximately 231 available pupil places overall; south of the QEW will have a 145 available pupil places and north of the QEW to have 86 available pupil places. Overall a reduction of 1,512 secondary pupil places. Utilization to increase between 91% and 97%.

For additional details on this option, including maps, school utilization rates from 2016 to 2026, and impacts on elementary schools visit: Option 4b

Option 7b: No schools close; Dr. Frank J Hayden HS Boundary Change

  • Removes capping from Dr. Frank J Hayden HS and reduces catchment.
  • Lester B. Pearson HS to gain the IB program and Gifted Secondary Placements. Pearson HS catchment expanded to include Kilbride PS, Alexander’s PS and John William Boich PS south of Upper Middle Road.
  • M.M. Robinson HS English boundary to expand to include Florence Meares PS west of Walker’s Line.
  • Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS: English boundary to exclude a portion of Florence Meares PS and a portion of John William Boich PS and Kilbride PS.

RESULTS: By 2020, there will be approximately 1,554 available pupil places overall; south of the QEW will have a 1,178 available pupil places and north of the QEW to have 376 available pupil places. No reduction in secondary pupil places. Utilization to increase between 74% and 80%

For additional details on this option, including maps, school utilization rates from 2016 to 2026, and impacts on elementary schools visit: Option7b 

Option 19b: Burlington Central & Lester B. Pearson Close by June 2018, Dr. Frank J. Hayden & Robert Bateman Program Changes

  • Aldershot HS: Boundary to expand east to Brant St; Nelson HS: Boundary expanded west to Brant Street.
  • ESL Program from Central HS to Aldershot HS
  • Central Robotics program transferred to Nelson HS
  • 210 empty pupil places at Aldershot Elementary PS to be added to the Secondary school capacity; Aldershot HS: Utilization rates increase to 142% by 2020, then expected to decrease. Utilization rates will decrease with the addition of available pupil places from the elementary facility. (NOTE: If Central closes and if 7/8s at Central are also transferred to Aldershot, that will consume the above-mentioned 210 empty pupil places at Aldershot Elementary PS, leaving Aldershot HS still overcapacity requiring portables. Depending on the projected year, there are 244-291 7/8 elementary students housed at Central HS).
  • Program Accommodation Review will be required for the Burlington Central elementary communities.  
  • FI program added to Robert Bateman HS
  • Extended French program added to M.M. Robinson HS.
  • Nelson HS: Utilization rates increase to 80% by 2020, then expected to decrease.
  • Robert Bateman HS: English boundary expands to include all of the Frontenac PS catchment; Bateman French Immersion program added and includes students east of Appleby Line and south of Upper Middle Rd and Frontenac PS students.
  • Robert Bateman HS: Utilization rates increase to 88% by 2020, then expected to increase to 2025.
  • M.M. Robinson HS: ENG boundary to expand to include Lester B. Pearson HS. FI boundary expanded to include Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS, excluding area south of Upper Middle Rd and east of Appleby Line.
  • M.M. Robinson HS: Utilization rates increase to 103% by 2020, then expected to increase in 2021.
  • Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS: Becomes an English-only school; English boundary to shift north of Upper Middle Rd.
  • Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS: Utilization rates decrease to 109% by 2020, then expected to increase until 2021.

RESULTS: By 2020, there will be approximately 42 available pupil places overall; south of the QEW will have a 196 available pupil places and north of the QEW to have a shortage of 154 pupil places. Overall a reduction of 1512 secondary pupil places. Utilization to increase between 94% and 101%

For additional details on this option, including maps, school utilization rates from 2016 to 2026, and impacts on elementary schools visit: Option 19b

Option 28c: Same as 19b except:

  • Aldershot HS English and French Immersion catchment expanded East to Richmond Rd hydro corridor (not Brant, as in Option 19b); Nelson FI expanded West to hydro corridor and East to Burloak
  • French Immersion removed from Bateman
  • Robert Bateman HS: English Catchment expands west to include Frontenac PS and expands north to include John William Boich PS catchment
  • MM Robinson English boundary to expand to include Sir E. MacMillan PS

RESULTS: By 2020, there will be approximately 42 available pupil places overall; south of the QEW will have a 62 available pupil places and north of the QEW to have a shortage of 20 pupil places. A reduction of 1512 pupil places. Utilization to increase between 94% and 101%

For additional details on this option, including maps, school utilization rates from 2016 to 2026, and impacts on elementary schools visit: Option 28c

Option 23d – Robert Bateman HS & Lester B. Pearson HS Close by June 2018, Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS Program Change

  • SC-SPED, ESS programming (both under SC-SPED) relocated from Robert Bateman HS to Nelson HS. New suitable facilities to be constructed for SC-SPED and Essential at Nelson
  • Food Service program to M.M. Robinson HS
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) program relocated from Robert Bateman HS to Burlington Central HS.
  • FI program removed from Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS.
  • Nelson HS exceeds Total Capacity. Utilization rates expected to increase to 123%, by 2020, then are projected to decline. Low enrolments at Aldershot HS
  • Extended French program added to M.M. Robinson HS.
  • No change to the Aldershot HS catchment. Total enrolment is under 500 students.
  • Burlington Central HS: Boundary expands to include areas east of Guelph Line. Utilization rates increase to 90% in 2020 and continue to increase until 2024.
  • M.M. Robinson HS: ENG boundary to expand to include Lester B. Pearson HS.; FI boundary expanded to include Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS. M.M. Robinson HS:
  • Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS: Becomes an English-only school.

RESULTS: By 2020, there will be an approximate shortage of 411 pupil places overall; south of the QEW will have a shortage of 266 pupil places and north of the QEW to have a shortage of 145 pupil places. Overall a reduction of 1965 secondary pupil places. Utilization Rates are between 102% and 109%

For additional details on this option, including maps, school utilization rates from 2016 to 2026, and impacts on elementary schools visit: Option 23d

Public Meetings

The above options will be presented at two public meetings, one in the North and one in the South. There will also be an online survey for those unable to attend the meetings.

The purpose of the public meetings is to share the work of the PARC to date, and to explain the process for gathering further community input. The same information will be presented at both meetings.

North Burlington Schools (North of QEW/Highway 403): Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Location: ​Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School, 3040 Tim Dobbie Drive

Time: 7:00 pm

South Burlington Schools (South of QEW/Highway 403): Tuesday, March 7, 2017

(Note: This date has changed)

Location: ​New Street Education Centre, 3250 New Street

Time: 7:00 pm

To learn more about the PAR process, visit the HDSB webpage for this PAR (with multiple links to information) here: Burlington Secondary PAR

My Take:

I encourage all residents of Burlington – whether or not you currently have children in school – to get involved in this discussion, review the options and make your views known. Each of the options has impact, for better or worse, and what happens in our neighbourhoods should concern us all.

As a member of the PARC (one of two parent representatives for Central High School) I am looking for the best option that addresses the issues raised by the board and ensures that all of our students in the city are better off for the long term.

You can share your feedback directly with PARC members at the email addresses below. You can also leave a comment for me below.

Aldershot HS
Email: aldershotparc@hdsb.ca

  • Steve Cussons
  • Eric Szyiko

Burlington Central HS
Email: centralparc@hdsb.ca

  • Ian Farwell
  • Marianne Meed Ward

Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS
Email: dfhaydenparc@hdsb.ca

  • Matthew Hall
  • Tricia Hammill

Lester B. Pearson HS
Email: lbpearsonparc@hdsb.ca

  • Steve Armstrong
  • Cheryl De Lugt

M.M. Robinson HS
Email: mmrobinsonparc@hdsb.ca

  • Marie Madenzides
  • Dianna Bower

Nelson HS
Email: nelsonparc@hdsb.ca

  • Kate Nazar
  • Rebecca Collier

Robert Bateman HS
Email: rbatemanparc@hdsb.ca

  • Lisa Bull
  • Sharon Picken

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

26 Comments

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  1. We’re infilling to increase density and at the same time closing schools. Are we looking for Burlington to become an adult-only community? Increased density is creating major traffic congestion and, with planned new high rises, that problem will get much worse. If families move into our denser neighborhoods, will we increase congestion still further by busing their kids to school? Surely school boards should first be family and child friendly. I’ve been around long enough to see their extrapolations go wrong in the past and to be suspicious of their priorities and very much so of their bigger, better schools that are neither.

  2. My belief is that the thinking is very shallow! They close schools, and then within a very short time they are building new schools. Go figure, one step forward, three steps back! With our “open door” concept of accepting migrants who believe in large families, we are going to need schools!! Unless of course, schools are planned to be built to accommodate different languages and cultures?? Saying that, perhaps education will be taking a different path, in our “changing world”??

  3. Thanks for the detailed information. I am partial to no closures or option 4b or 23d. Love Central and how it’s theatre program and close community have helped my daughter overcome anxiety!

  4. Councillor – thanks for the update. While nobody likes to see schools close, 1,800 surplus seats is just not fair to the tax payers when we already have a budget that exceeds inflation. I’m sure the debate will be vigorous – as it should be. I trust the debate will account for current and future demographics. Schools south of the QEW are going to be challenged with future enrollments – the area is limited by the lake, house prices are rising to the point of being beyond the reach of many young families, and most of the new development is mostly condos (again not a fit for young families).

  5. There was a public school at the corner of Guelph Line and Glenwood School Drive, just can’t seem to remember it’s name. Anyway, it stood vacant for years after it was closed. It was finally torn down and a vacant lot has been there for years. I would think that the school could have been used for other purposes such as homeless shelter, woman’s shelter, turned into small shops, etc. But nothing was done. What a shame .

  6. There’s so much to say here but I think you all are covering most of it. There’s just 1 thing EVERYONE needs to think about …. You have a serious school bus driver shortage!!! This problem is NOT going away any time soon. I have been a school bus driver for over 12 years now and I LOVE my job. Plus I have 4 daughter’s who have attended 2 of these schools in question. Our class sizes are large in some areas and kids can Not get the help then require, therefore some are just slipping through the system. PLEASE think of our kids and the future kids best interest.

  7. As a former student of NELSON, MMR, and Lord Elgin (now Bateman) HS’ s, this dismays me to no end! After moving our family to Alberta in ’79, we lived in south Edmonton when our 2 eldest were going to school. Steinhauer school was designated a “community school” thereby having all kinds of community events and activities at all times of the day. From Church services to scout meetings- -the property was really used and it’s worth to the “community” invaluable. Later, living in a small town, the same applied without the designation. With some forethought and imagination there’s no reason a school building couldn’t be utilized 24 hours a day- the fixed costs would already be applied. Call center by night? a classroom could pay for itself …. rehearsal space for a band…or even a recording studio. ..why not? IMAGINATION required? YES! Out of the box? SURE! Come on people- dont shutter them – UTILIZE THEM!

  8. I wonder if anybody has taken in to consideration that the communities with highest family populations are located around Hayden, therefore the population of the high school is relevant? I bought a house in the mountainside area almost twenty years ago before kids. No kids have ever populated this area. We have (maybe) eight kids living on our street. At the most, this is the number of kids who have ever populated our street. Our children will go to MM Robinson. Touring the school this year for my oldest child, it is painfully obvious the low attendance records. Why is the school board allowing non-Catholic, out of jurisdiction kids to attend Notre Dame? This might solve some of those options. I also attended Pearson HS. I am not heartbroken they are closing this school. I don’t want higher taxes to keep schools open with extreme low numbers. I don’t think it makes sense for Central to close, but if Pearson closes because of it’s proximity to MM Robinson, then I think Nelson and Bateman should also be apart of that grouping. Most of the high schools have history, especially those who are passionate about the history. Nelson could be a great candidate to close. I think it’s an important option.
    Many people are moving to Burlington from Toronto areas because of the housing market, the lakeshore area and the small town vibe. Housing prices have gone through the roof, making it impossible to move when you become empty nesters, relying on the equity of the house to compensate for retirement. I think that Burlington needs to stop saying yes to developers, and stop building for now. It’s losing it’s quality and now drowning in its quantities.

  9. School closures are totally unnecessary and only happen because school boards are putting dollars before our kid’s best interests. Yes, some schools aren’t filled to capacity so why not get creative and put other programs in there, for ex. for seniors. Making them a community hub would benefit the community and the kids.

  10. Option 7b: No schools close; Dr. Frank J Hayden HS Boundary Change – I believe this is option to choose. It will keep all communities intact and room for future growth.

    • This is sad for the fact the board did a mistake and built a bigger/better school,that the little schools suffer. Not just that Bateman has the special needs program, can’t imagine putting a special needs kid on a long bus ride to and from school.

      • There are special needs kids in every school, not just at Bateman. There are autistic students, students with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Students with ADHD. These students would all be affected negatively by longer bus rides. There is no proposed option out of these scenarios that would send these students on a longer commute than one that includes the closure of Central. The big picture needs to be considered here.

  11. I am not sure of the reasoning behind these closures, but with so much building for density, these days — just where are the children going to go to school? Or, are one and two bedroom condos going to become a kind of “population control” with childless, or one child families? Just stating the obvious conclusion to this kind of thing happening all across Canada. None of this makes any sense! It seems to be a shameless land grab by developers with an “agenda”.

  12. This makes me sad as a past central student and ashamed uh live in a town that just won’t say NO. To closing a school which they will need when they are developing around that area. Also would aldershot doesn’t have the room, nore sitting in a portable is horrible trust me I’ve been in one for school. This just makes me really sad to say I’m from Burlington right now. The board wants more kids to walk, and no car admissions in their lots… well good job no one is walking to school, and more cars on the streets that have issues already with volume.

What's your take?