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Catholic high school in Dryden eyed


The Northwest Catholic District School Board will hold its last regular meeting of the 2016-17 school year tomorrow (June 17) at 9:30 a.m. at St. Patrick's School in Atikokan.

The committee of the whole meeting is scheduled for today (June 16) at 6 p.m. at the Little Falls Community Centre in Atikokan.

During tomorrow's regular meeting, a recommendation will be made to the board that senior staff develop an action plan leading to the opening of a Catholic secondary school in Dryden.

This will include a bi-monthly report back beginning in September regarding the progress being made to achieve this goal.

The recommendation comes after a multi-year study concerning the opening a Catholic secondary school here.

In March, 2015, trustees passed a motion directing senior staff to investigate the feasibility of a secondary school in Fort Frances, with a report to the board by that November.

At the November, 2015 board meeting, trustees then passed a motion for a similar investigation into Dryden and a motion for an update on the Fort Frances feasibility.

Last May, a motion passed requesting an action plan leading to the application for a secondary school in Dryden.

Then last June, negotiations began with Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association to identify the terms and conditions for staff in a secondary school, on which an agreement was reached.

An update on the feasibility report will be presented to the board tomorrow.

It will indicate there is modest support for a Catholic secondary school in Dryden, and that the ministry requires board approval prior to the application of a new school.

The report also reminds the board there are ricks associated with opening a new school because of the potential discrepancy between anticipated enrolment and actual enrolment, and the financial impact that would have.

It warns support from both the community and the Ministry of Education are critical elements needed for the establishment of a new school.

Also at tomorrow's meeting, trustees will:

  • recognize the exemplary dedication and commitment of Shawndra Morden, an educational assistant at St. Patrick's School;
  • approve the appointment of Brendan Hyatt to the position of director of education and secretary of the board, effective Sept. 1, and subject to the approval of the minister of education;
  • approve the board's meeting schedule for the 2018 calendar year;
  • hear the director's year-end report from Rick Boisvert, with updates from administration and department leads; and
  • review the 2016-17 facilities report, including an update on the new school build project involving the consolidation of St. Michael's and St. Francis schools in Fort Frances.
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