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Student Accommodation Review
Accommodation Review Q&A - Owen Sound Area Group of Schools



Click on any of the questions listed below for more information.


















Q:  Where are we now in the accommodation review process?

A:  At the Regular Meeting of the Board held on April 19, 2016, trustees approved the following recommendations related to the Accommodation Review – Owen Sound Area Group of Schools:

1.  That Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational lnstitute students be consolidated with West Hill Secondary School students on the site of the current West Hill Secondary School for the 2016-17 school year, effective September 2016; and

That the Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational lnstitute (OSCVI) facility be renovated to accommodate K-8 programming commencing the 2017-18 school year.

2.  That Bayview Public School and Sydenham Community School be closed effective June 30,2017; and

That the elementary programs from Bayview Public School and Sydenham Community School, including French lmmersion, be re-located to the renovated OSCVI facility, commencing September 2017.

3.  That Dufferin Elementary School be closed effective June 30, 2017; and

That the students at Dufferin Elementary School be re-located to Hillcrest Elementary School and Keppel-Sarawak Elementary School commencing September 2017 based on adjusted boundaries (as per Report AR 2015.16-02a Appendix ll) and available school capacity for out of boundary requests (as per Administrative Procedure AP 6212-D).

4.  That Derby Public School be closed effective June 30, 2016; and,

That the students at Derby Public School be re-located to Arran Tara Elementary School, Hillcrest Elementary School, and Hepworth Central Public School commencing   September 2016 based on adjusted boundaries (as per Report AR 2015.16-02a Appendix II) and available school capacity for out of boundary requests (as per Administrative Procedure AP 6212-D).

5.  That a plan be presented to the Policy Standing Committee regarding the possible reduction of Owen Sound urban walk distances for secondary students.

6.  That a business case be submitted to the Ministry of Education to seek funding for a secondary school to replace the Owen Sound secondary school (to be named) to meet the future enrolment expectations in the Owen Sound area.

7.  That a business case be submitted to the Ministry of Education to seek funding for an elementary school to replace Hillcrest Elementary School to meet future enrolment expectations.

The Final Staff Report for the Owen Sound Area Group of Schools accommodation review was received by trustees at a Special Committee of the Whole Board meeting on April 12, 2016.

On March 1, 2016, the Board of Trustees received the Preliminary Final Staff Report for the Owen Sound Area Group of Schools accommodation review.  On March 23, 2016, a Special Board Meeting for Accommodation Review Delegations was held to allow members of the public to provide comments on the recommended option in the report.


Q:  Why did the recommendation by staff change from the two school grade 7-12 model to one secondary school, and why was the current West Hill facility proposed as the site?

A:  Many themes have emerged as a result of the 100+ public submissions received, as well as the various delegations and ARC discussions that occurred during the 40-day Public Consultation Period.  A resonating theme was strong support by a large contingent of the participating public for enhanced programming opportunities for students in a single, fully utilized secondary school.  This option provides a more sustainable long-term solution to the declining enrolment and accommodation issues in the Owen Sound Area Group of Schools.  We anticipate that we would not have to revisit the Owen Sound area, from an accommodation standpoint, in the near future.  

This option further improves the board’s utilization and school operations annual financial position in comparison to the recommended option in the Initial Staff Report.  Creating a fully utilized secondary school on the current West Hill Secondary School site provides the opportunity for the board to construct a business case to apply to the Ministry of Education for a new secondary school in the future.

The Final Staff Report provides a detailed breakdown of supporting rationale for the single 9-12 secondary school option.



Q:  Why is Sydenham now included for closure?

A:  While it was not part of the recommended option in the Initial Staff Report, this idea did come forward through a committee member at an ARC working meeting at the beginning of the 40-day Public Consultation Period.  There was a strong desire expressed by committee members and members of the broader public that the school communities of Bayview and Sydenham remain together, and that K-8 French Immersion programming (currently at Sydenham) be maintained in one location.  The current OSCVI facility provides sufficient space to house both Bayview and Sydenham, and keeps another elementary school in the general vicinity.

The Sydenham community and teaching staff have supported this concept.       



Q:  How will the consolidation of OSCVI and West Hill affect the teachers?

A:  The numbers of teachers on staff are determined by the numbers of students enrolled.  Once we know enrolment and staffing numbers, staff will be determined by seniority and qualifications.  If the current enrolments at both schools were to remain unchanged, so would the complement of teachers.

The timing of this process would align with other secondary school staffing considerations this spring.

The probability of having teachers teach to their strengths in their areas of expertise is greater.



Q:  How will the consolidation of OSCVI and West Hill affect programming?

A:  When we have more students and staff in one building, we can offer multiple sections of compulsory courses, enabling all students to have more flexibility in their timetables.

Students will have the benefit of selecting elective courses from a broader range of courses.

More efficient use of resources will allow students to access the "best of both worlds" in terms of current textbooks, musical instruments, technology resources (such as 3D printers and CNC machines), and specialty programs (such as Specialist High Skills Majors).



Q:  How will school boundaries and bussing be affected?

A:  School boundaries for West Hill and OSCVI will be combined.  The consolidation of the schools will require updated boundaries for the remaining schools.  We are doing everything we can to keep school communities together when possible.

Overall, this solution minimizes transportation changes to routes, the time spent by students on busses and costs.

We will propose a change to walking distances and bus eligibility to reduce Owen Sound urban walk distances for secondary students.



Q:  Why are Derby's timelines for closure different than those for Bayview, Dufferin and Sydenham?

A:  Our financial situation requires us to achieve some savings sooner rather than later.  Derby students will have access to "rural" school options, as preferred.  Transferring now results in full capacity at Arran-Tara Elementary School.

Bayview and Sydenham schools will remain open to allow for necessary renovations at OSCVI.

There is currently insufficient capacity at Hillcrest Elementary School to receive the students from Dufferin.  This is expected to change within one year.     



Q:  How has the public been consulted during this process?

A:  Public consultation during the accommodation review process has occurred in a variety of ways:  

Municipal/community partners

Invitations to meet and discuss the recommended options in the Initial Staff Report were sent within five days of the Board of Trustees’ approval to undertake an accommodation review to affected upper and lower tier municipalities, as well as other community partners that previously expressed interest.      

Accommodation Review Committee (ARC)

Upon approval of the recommendation to initiate an accommodation review for the Owen Sound Area Group of Schools, the board established an ARC to act as a conduit for information shared between the board and school communities.  The mandate and composition of the committee are outlined in the board policy, BP 3101-D Accommodation Review – School Program and Facility Efficiency, and included staff and parent representatives from each school, and a student from each secondary school.  The committee was comprised of 55 members in total.

Public meetings/delegations/submissions

Two public meetings were held as part of the Public Consultation Period on December 3, 2015 and February 11, 2016.  At each meeting, there were approximately 50 members of the public, in addition to the ARC and board staff.  There were 17 delegations in total.  Feedback was also received through a dedicated e-mail address, which generated over 100 submissions providing comments, questions and alternative proposals.  The ARC also held working meetings on January 7 and January 25, 2016 in which members of the public were invited to observe.  As the Public Consultation Period has ended, the dedicated e-mail address is no longer active.

A Special Board Meeting for Accommodation Review Delegations was held on March 23, 2016 to receive feedback from members of the public on the Preliminary Final Staff Report.

The board utilized local media, which included radio, print and online newspapers, as well as its website and social media to announce the public meetings.



Q:  Where do I find the board’s policy which explains the process and guidelines for accommodation reviews?

A:   The link to board policy BP 3101-D Accommodation Review – School Program and Facility Efficiency is as follows:  http://www.bwdsb.on.ca/director/policies/BP_3101-D.pdf 
The policy is permanently housed in the Policies & Procedures section of our board website.



Q:  What is the purpose of initiating accommodation reviews?

A:  The purpose of the accommodation review process is to focus funding on exceptional programming opportunities for students through ensuring efficiencies in operations.  Currently, Bluewater District School Board pays for 7,000 empty pupil spaces.  This is the direct result of declining enrolment, a common issue throughout the province.  The Board of Trustees has pledged to reduce this number of empty pupil spaces by half by the end of its term in 2018.



Q:  Where do I find accommodation review reports, meeting minutes, public submissions and other pertinent information?

A:  A link titled, 2015-16 Accommodation Reviews, is available in the right hand column under ‘Spotlight’ on the board website home page:  http://www.bwdsb.on.ca

This section includes individual web pages for both the Owen Sound Area Group of Schools and Meaford Area Group of Schools accommodation reviews.      



Q:  Where do I learn more about the Ministry of Education’s Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline?

A:  A Community Planning and Partnerships (CPP) page was launched on the board website in the spring of 2015.  The page includes a link to the Ministry document, a section for notifications regarding new school builds or significant renovations, an application form for expressions of interest from community partners, details on the board’s annual CPP meeting and links to our CCP policy and procedure.  



Q:  How did the board comply with the new Ministry requirement of ensuring consultation with municipalities before beginning accommodation reviews?

A:  As required by the new CPP guideline, our board began the process of reaching out to local upper and lower tier municipalities with our first annual CPP public meeting on June 15, 2015.  Invitation letters were sent to senior staff at each municipality within our jurisdiction.  A media release was also issued on May 1, 2015 in an effort to invite expressions of interest from potential partners as well as to announce the public meeting.

The intent of the CPP public meeting was to share planning information, discuss potential partnerships and outline the Ministry’s new CPP guideline.  Representation at the meeting included a broad cross section of senior staff and councillors from several local municipalities and both counties, a contingent of community organizations, members of the general public and local media.  Several communities and organizations have since followed up with Bluewater District School Board to engage in productive consultation.    



Q:  Where do I find the ‘Watson Report’ which recommends a number of school closures in our area over the next several years?

A:  Both the Long Term Accommodation Strategy and an executive summary of the May 2014 report from the consulting firm Watson & Associates can be found in the Capital Plan section of the board website.

The intent of the report was not to be a ‘be all and end all’ plan, but rather to offer some recommendations that the board might consider as part of its long term planning in addressing excess school space.      

In addition to a significant amount of media coverage that was generated upon release of this report, letters to share the information were sent to mayors/wardens of all local municipal and county councils in October 2014, and then again in December 2014 to those councils where the mayorship changed following the municipal election.    

































































































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