School boundary changes long overdue
Owing to Lindsay’s current – and anticipated – growth, school boundaries are in a state of flux with big changes on the horizon for September. And a lot of parents aren’t happy.
Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) is considering expanding K-6 schools to become K-8 schools over the next two years to better make use of the space at King Albert P.S., Queen Victoria P.S. and Alexandra P.S. – three elementary schools that are not operating anywhere close to capacity. Such a move would decrease enrollment pressure on Central Senior, which has limited classroom spaces available.
In addition to these three schools, there is also surplus space at Fenelon Township Public School and Mariposa Elementary School.
The province has mandated that all schools in the catchment area must be full before another school will be built. That sounds sensible enough to us.
There is no doubt this represents a sea change in local education.
In Lindsay it has been a longstanding tradition to keep elementary schools Kindergarten to Grade 6, with kids then going to Central Senior for two years as a kind of prep school for high school. With the new proposal, Central might instead turn into a Grades 5 to 8 school for French Immersion students only. Many cities and towns across Ontario and across Canada do not have an intermediate school and there is no evidence-based need to keep this model.
Some of the blowback for the board from parents is typical of human nature in general; people do not like change. The prospect of a new school tends to worry parents (usually more than the children) about their capacity to absorb such change.
However, kids are adaptable and there is a strong case to be made for attending a school that is not overcrowded – even if it does happen to be in central Lindsay or the east end. Children benefit from exposure to a broad range of families from all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds.
These boundary changes are long overdue. As we continue to grow, we must ensure our kids have the best possible education experience, no matter the building in which this occurs.