Closure of 4 Edmonton Catholic schools takes a step forward

The Edmonton Catholic School Board has voted to move forward on closing St. Brendan, St. Gabriel, St. James and St. Kevin Schools.
Catholic board trustees discussed the school closures in front of a packed house on Tuesday (CBC )

The Edmonton Catholic School Board has voted to move ahead on closing four aging schools in east Edmonton.

St. Brendan, St. James and St. Gabriel Elementary Schools and St. Kevin Junior High School are all under capacity and would cost the board $22 million in maintenance costs. 

The board wants to close all four buildings and build a single $25 million K to 9 school on the St. Brendan site.

St. Brendan is one of the aging east Edmonton schools the Catholic board wants to close. (CBC )

Trustees struggled with the decision they made in front of a room packed with parents. 

"People want their kids to go to a small school," said Trustee Patricia Grell. "They don't want these large mega-schools." 

Parents at the meeting say that sending students to a single school doesn't make sense. 

"I don't think that that is reasonable to expect 21 communities to funnel into one school," said Lana Brenneis.

"Especially when we're either going to have to put our kids on the bus for a long period of time or hundreds of parents are going to be driving into this location."

Tuesday's decision means the board will now move into a formal consultation period where trustees will look at how the closures would affect the community. 

Trustees will make a final decision on the fate of the schools on May 20.

Even if they vote for closure, the schools will have to stay open for another two to three years to allow for the construction of the new building.

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