More questions raised about school closure process

“The PAR process is flawed and divisive, not living up to the expectation of collaboration”

More questions are being raised about the Program & Accommodation Review process currently underway in Burlington that could see one or more high schools close, namely Burlington Central, Nelson, Bateman, or Pearson.

Nelson parent Brett Huttman has prepared a 17-page “deep dive” raising concerns about the process, which he sent to the PAR committee, board staff and trustees.

Key concerns include:

  • The PAR process is flawed and divisive, not living up to the expectation of collaboration with communities or seeking out creative solutions
  • Information being used in decision-making is old and inaccurate; there is also limited communication as to the source of data other than a vaguely outlined methodology
  • The motivation to close a school in Burlington is questionable, given vague Provincial Ministry funding guidelines and an obvious need for capital by the HDSB to support growth in Milton
  • Despite flat historical growth in enrolment numbers and relatively flat projections for future growth, the HDSB built Frank Hayden Secondary School, operational since 2013, which has single-handedly created a capacity imbalance in the city of Burlington
  • There is recent history of questionable judgement – building Hayden suggests that the HDSB did not thoroughly understand the needs of the entire community Burlington, and have not been held accountable for this decision

“This is a call for renewed effort from the HDSB to critically and creatively evaluate options that allow Burlington to maintain ALL of its existing schools,” states Huttman.

Read the full document here: Burlington PAR – A Deeper Dive

My Take: This document is a must-read for all residents. We’re all affected in some way by what’s happening. Any school closing would be disruptive to that community, and current closure options under consideration create a domino effect of negative impacts on surrounding schools, such as overcrowding and portables, bussing and boundary changes. Even if all schools remain open, boundary changes will be required to address overcrowding at Hayden and underenrolment at Bateman, MM Robinson and Pearson.

I encourage everyone to learn about the options and share your views. There is still time to fill out the Board’s survey (till 4:30 pm Mon. March 13).

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

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.


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  1. It is VERY upsetting that it has taken the hard work of a concerned parent to put this information together, when we have many city employees, committees, Councillors, etc… whose JOB it is to do this. This is very telling.

    Who is looking out for the citizens of Burlington???

    This has also become quite apparent with regards to the intensification mandate Burlington is in the midst of. Life in Burlington is becoming more and more strained as the population rises. The infrastructure is now suffering and the people of Burlington are going to pay the ultimate price. Do the “leaders” of our fine city not drive cars? Shop on the weekend? Two events this week shone a light on the traffic issues we are facing now and will be facing in the future… the closure of the 407 and Dundas on Monday… the closure of the Burlington Skyway on Wednesday… Traffic, in Burlington, was horrendous on both of those days…

    And this is all before the intensification near the Burlington GO and on Lakeshore…

    Is quality of life not a concern for anyone ?!?!?

  2. What is the best way to communicate with the PARC and other stakeholders? Is a PowerPoint deck more or less effective than a page or more email?

What's your take?