Schoolboards across Ontario have been struggling with declining enrollment and aging schools. But finding a solution that makes everyone happy hasn’t been easy. Well, this evening in Hamilton, after a lengthy review of schools in east Hamilton, the board decided tonight to close two and fix up three others. And everyone seems to be alright with the plan.Abbie Boyko and other parents fought hard to keep Parkdale school open, cheering as they heard the board vote in favour of a motion that would see it saved: “All the teachers know the kids names, volunteers know the kids names, make the snacks, it’s a great community school, the teachers and principals are amazing , it’s in a good location with a lot of green space.”Parkdale was one of five schools that had been earmarked for possible closure by the board. Roxborough Park, Viscount Montgomery, Woodward and Rosedale were all on the chopping block. One recommendation was to close all five and build a new school. Another would have seen Parkdale and Roxborough close and the other schoold merge. And a third porposal was to close Parkdale, Roxobrough Park and Woodward and build a new school. But in the end, trustee Todd White proposed what he called a community hybrid plan. It would close Woodward and Roxoborugh Park come next June. Jessica Brennan is Chair of the board: “As a board, as a total board, we had a vote tonight that firmly supported the motion to close two schools in the community and make boundary decisions and look at ways to use unused space.”The community hybrid plan also includes spending four million dollars on urgent repairs for the remaining three schools. But some trustees don’t think that’s nearly enough money. Laura Peddle is a trustee: “I dont think the renovation money is going to be sufficient, we never have enough to do renovations so how are we going to have enough to keep up with reno’s needed in remaining schools and still properly serve students.”In fact one trustee said Parkdale school alone needs four million dollars in repairs. But for the students it’s not about the money. Grant Boyko goes to Parkdale: “I’m so excited. It’s shocking! We have a sewing club with Ms. Condon and the caretaker Miss Cinty does choir on her own lunch time.”The vote still needs to be ratified — that will be on June 16th. And there’s still a few logistical things to work out. Dome of the boundaries will have to change, so the board still isn’t sure what kids will go where when the schools close. But Parkdale will remain open. However, while this school is saved, there are two schools closing. But there didn’t seem to be any vocal opposition from parents at either of those schools tonight.
Two schools to close in hybrid plan