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Latest Update on the ARC

Since the Board of Trustees have failed to agree on a recommendation for either Kanata North or Kanata South and the final Board meeting for this subject is scheduled for Tuesday, April 24, Carrie and I have submitted our names as a delegation once again. At last night’s School Council meeting, much time was spent discussing what would be the best message to give the Trustees. It was felt that we need to look toward a long term plan that is sustainable. We also feel that this is one of our best chances of actually obtaining the funding we so desperately need from the province. And so Carrie and I will be supporting i) the construction of a new elementary school in west Kanata, ii) an addition to the Earl of March to support a 7-12 grade structure, and iii) dual tracking Roland Michener.

Why do we feel this is necessary and what was wrong with our original ARC recommendation which kept the intermediate students in their elementary school facility? The ARC’s recommendation was made based on a 2015 implementation of full day learning. We have been told that that date is now 2014. We also assumed that the new school would house a good section of Kanata Lakes (west of Kanata Avenue). It now appears more likely that the new school would be occupied by the new development off Richardson Side Road and Kanata Estates (as well as the future housing in the neighbourhood of the new school). These two factors imply that, while a new school may off-load the pressure in the near term, the space crunch will rear it’s ugly head not long after and at best, we will be thrown into another ARC at that time. There will be no more available space for our students in Kanata. It is a very real possibility that students would have to be bussed to under-utilized schools in Nepean or Ottawa.

There is absolute reluctance in supporting the 7-12 model. Based on Trustees’ discussions and our observation of the Board in action, we believe there is no question that this is the direction of the OCDSB. We feel that once the KNL lands become available and a new secondary school is built there, it WILL be 7-12, whether we like it or not. In fact, it HAS to be a 7-12 facility to off-load the overcrowding at Jack Donohue. With that in mind, we feel it would be best to work with the Board Staff over the next two years and have some input as to what the facility at the Earl of March would look like and how it would function. That will be one of the roles of the Transition Team.

Many thanks to all those parents who took the time to discuss this issue at length at last night’s School Council meeting. Do we feel like we’ve got our back against the wall? Absolutely! However, we feel we’ve got to make the best of a bad situation and try to work within whatever decision the Trustees make. We don’t want to be back at the table in a few years with overcrowding at the top of the agenda yet again.

If you have any comments, please feel free to contact either Carrie or Catherine.


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