School boundaries set to dramatically change

By Rebekah McCracken

Lindsay Quesnelle stands in front of Central Senior School in Lindsay, which may turn into a French Immersion-only school over the next two years. Photo: Sienna Frost.

Massive change is on the horizon for area students as Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) gets set to redraw neighbourhood boundaries.

Every child currently in Kindergarten through to Grade 6 attending public schools in Lindsay will be affected by the proposed boundary changes, scheduled for next September. In a community consultation meeting held at LCVI in late November, about 60 parents gathered to hear about Parkview Public School’s boundary review.

“The biggest concerns I think most parents shared, is that this meeting was not just about the Parkview boundaries but rather all the schools in the area,” says Lindsay Quesnelle, mother of two who was in attendance that evening.

Quesnelle points out the board is looking to change the school model from K-6 to K-8. Currently, Central Senior School is an intermediate school. She says that school is slated to become a French immersion school over the next two years (which) “I know surprised many of us.”

Leanna Segura, mother of four, agrees that the loss of Central Senior as a Grade 7-8 school may be a concern to local parents. “I have always thought it was a great prep school for high school.”

The rapid development in certain neighbourhoods in Lindsay has been a key factor in the overcrowding of three schools. Parkview Public School, Leslie Frost Public School and Central Senior School are all bursting at the seams with an over population of students. While other nearby schools (Alexandra P.S., King Albert P.S., Queen Victoria P.S., Fenelon Township P.S. and Mariposa Elementary School) are operating at a much lower capacity.

According to the TLDSB website, establishing school catchment areas within specific boundaries will help balance school enrollment and capacity, minimize transportation, and maximize walk zones.

Wes Hahn, director of education for TLDSB, says “we aim to provide all students with the best possible educational experience, and the school boundary review will help us to ensure we are able to continue supporting high-quality educational programming, student achievement, and well-being.”

Segura notes that changed boundaries were “bound to happen at some point with all (the) development.”

“The growth of Lindsay is not just to the north. It encompasses the entire town. In five years, we will be having to readdress boundary issues,” says Quesnelle. “The answer is for a new school to be built.”

However, TLDSB says that for a business case to be made to the Ministry of Education for a new build, all existing schools closest to the development area need to be over capacity and have little ability to accommodate more students. Quesnelle understands this but she feels the board and parents “need to put pressure on the (Ontario) government as this is an urgent situation to address.”

She says Lindsay’s schools are very old “and vary drastically in square footage, yard space and availability of transportation.”

A recommendation on the boundaries for all area schools will be taken to the trustees at a meeting on Tuesday Jan. 23 to determine where our students will be learning in the fall.

Segura puts a positive light on the shuffle. “At the end of the day, it’s their education that’s the most important, not the school they attend.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.