Save our Schools! - Information on the Proposed Changes to Southeast Oakville Elementary Schools

By
Real Estate Sales Representative with RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp., Brokerage

If you have driven through Southeast Oakville at all in the past year, you have probably noticed the “SOS - Save our Schools” signs scattered across residents’ front lawns.  While the slogan has a clever ring to it, the issue of Southeast Oakville public schools is a serious one for the Halton School Board and local residents alike.  At the heart of the debate is the impact that proposed school closures and boundary changes will have on local students. 

The Halton District School Board has been listening to residents’ concerns and recently released a multi-page letter to educate impacted homeowners, solicit feedback and ultimately bring progress to the school system.  Clearly this is an issue affecting all existing residents as well as home buyers thinking of moving to the area.  In an effort to clarify the situation to potential buyers, I have summarized the proposed changes below.

The expected school boundary changes affect all 7 existing public elementary schools in Southeast Oakville as well as 1 new public school which is planned to be opened in September 2010.  Existing schools include Chisholm, New Central, Brantwood, Linbrook, Maple Grove, New Central, and E.J. James.  The new school is proposed to be called Clearview public school.

From the school board’s perspective, changes are required to accomplish the following:

  1. Enhance Services and facilities offered to students in the area
  2. Respond to Changes in the Community to be consistent with current and projected student needs
  3. Seek Broad Public Input prior to making any final decisions with regards to Ward 3 schools.

Many options have been proposed but there are 6 that have been shortlisted with the hopes that one will become final.  In each option below, the schools not named are being slated for closure. 

Option A1

Clearview – English & French – JK-8

New Central – English and French – JK-8

Maple Grove – English – JK-8

Option A2

Clearview – English & French – JK-8

Linbrook – English & French – JK-8

Maple Grove – English – JK-8

Option B1

Clearview – English – JK-8

EJ James – English – JK-8

Maple Grove – French – 1-8

Option B2

Clearview – English – JK-8

Maple Grove – English – JK-8

EJ James – French 1-8

Option C1

Clearview – English and French – JK-8

Maple Grove – English – JK-8

New Central – English – JK-8

EJ James – French 1-8

Option C2

Clearview – English and French – JK-8

Maple Grove – English – JK-8

Linbrook – English – JK-8

EJ James – French – 1-8

Note that these are the 6 options currently under review.  The final decision could be one of these options or a variation thereof.  If you are looking to buy in Southeast Oakville and planning to send your children to public school it is important to understand that the options mentioned above are currently undergoing what the board describes as a “consultation process”.  Over the next couple months, the board has asked local residents to complete a survey indicating their preferred schooling option.  They are also conducting a series of focus groups to collect input from the public.  The board is saying that a decision will be made by June 2009 and implemented September 2010. 

As someone who grew up in the area and attended 3 of the schools currently under review I have a few thoughts on the matter.  The first is that all of these schools represent excellent education choices.  Picking between Maple Grove versus Chisholm versus Linbrook is like picking between three different 5 star resorts.  It’s a difficult decision to make especially when your personal preference likely hinges on how the changes affect your child personally.  I applaud the communication underway between the school board and local residents, however hard it may be.  It shows that Oakville is a caring community that is willing to get involved to ensure that the decisions affecting it are for the greatest good.  Ultimately, I believe that the proposed changes represent a huge opportunity to improve the already great quality of education in the area.  Fewer schools reduces complexity within the school system and ultimately frees up resources that when re-distributed effectively, can be used to improve the quality of education for local school children. 

For further information on changes affecting Southeast Oakville public schools, please visit the Halton district school board at www.hdsb.ca and click on the link titled “Ward 3 Community Consultation”.  To speak further about this or other issues concerning Oakville, please send me an email at lindsay@remaxaboutowne.com or call me at 905.338.9000.  I am always happy to talk about issues affecting the community.

Regards,

Lindsay

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