Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Keep Stratton school open: committee

The Accommodation Review Committee for Our Lady of the Way School in Stratton will make its recommendation on the future of the school during the regular meeting of the Northwest Catholic District School Board tonight at 6:30 p.m.
The recommendation, which was posted to the board’s website earlier this month, indicates four points, with the main one suggesting the board keep Our Lady of the Way School open as a JK-8 school.

The committee also unanimously recommends the board commit to a minimum of two classrooms at Our Lady of the Way School.
As well, it wants a school action plan to be developed for implementation in 2013-14 to support a strong parish, community, and school
relationship that focuses on strengthening the relationship with existing families while attracting new students and families.
Furthermore, it suggests the board commit to review the accommodation review process to identify the strengths and concerns of the existing one.
The accommodation review process for the school was initiated last January due to declining enrolment, which saw the expenditures of operating Our Lady of the Way exceeding revenues by $200,000.
Several public consultation sessions were held throughout the year, with the committee looking at the value of the school to the student, the school board, the church, the community, and the local economy.
The school, which covers the jurisdiction from Emo to Rainy River to Nestor Falls, was constructed in 1987 and houses five classrooms.
In the 2009-10 school year, some 81 students were enrolled there. But that dropped to just 13 student in the 2012-13 school year.
For the 2013-14 school year, the course and program offerings included a classroom with seven grade levels (JK, SK, 1, 3, 5, 6, and 8), an NSL program for all students, and one dedicated Special Education resource teacher.
The report noted that “safety of the school is not an issue as the facility has been well-maintained up to this school year.”
If the school were to close and students had to go to the next nearest Catholic school, some would have to travel by bus up to 89 km one way.
With all things considered, the committee determined the best decision is to keep the school open.
Also at tonight’s meeting, trustees will:
•hear an IT presentation on “program and bandwidth”;
•vote to amend Board Governance By-Laws #100: Board Meetings to remove Article 16(21) Observer Comments and Note;
•vote to approve the 2014-15 budget planning cycle as presented;
•vote to approve the Audit Committee 2012-13 annual report as presented; and
•recommend that the board representatives who serve on the Rainy River District Transportation Consortium and the Northwestern Ontario Student Services Consortium request that the policy for extreme cold temperature be reviewed to confirm appropriateness.

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