Supporters of Parkside Secondary in Dundas worry students will be left out in the cold after the province denied funding for a new high school in the town.
But the ministry is not funding a new high school on Governor's Road, meant to replace Parkside and Highland schools. And that has some Dundas parents concerned.
“We extrapolated all kinds of possibilities from the very beginning of this process,” said Patrick Rowan, father and part of the Parkside Works group. “We kept coming back to the idea that we would end up with nothing if we weren't careful.”
The group is “not optimistic” that Dundas will get a new high school now, or a satisfactory solution for Parkside students, Rowan said. He worries Highland will receive modest renovations and students will be taught in portables.
Dundas students will not be left behind, board chair Tim Simmons said.
“Nobody's going to be left out,” he said. “We want all of our communities to know that everybody will be taken care of in some fashion with investment to all of our schools.”
The nearly $40 million from the province will free up money used to maintain existing schools that will soon be closed, he said.
The board will also look at existing revenue sources to fund work on high schools in Dundas. Highland will get a minimum of $15 million of renovations, Simmons said.
The community group has used numerous methods to fight the board's decision to close the 449-student Parkside Secondary. The most recent was an appeal to the ministry, which appointed independent facilitator Margaret Wilson.
She found that the board deviated from its own policy during the Parkside review process, but that the deviation didn't contribute to the board's decision.
Parkside parent Tim Leslie said the group is not surprised by the ministry's denial of funding.
“We totally expected it,” he said.
“For the board to go ahead and close Parkside without funding in place, it's going to be a disaster for Dundas.”
The nearly $40 million includes funding for a new inner city high school, $5.4 million in renovations to Saltfleet District High School and $3.5 to renovate George R. Allan elementary school.
The board did not receive money it requested to build a new high school southeast of the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, but the province will provide money to buy land for it. This school will replace Barton, Hill Park and Mountain schools.
The board will review business plans for the Dundas, Mountain and lower city projects in February.