Hamilton board deviated from policy in Parkside decision
School supporters say they aren't surprised
Supporters of a Dundas high school say they're not surprised by an independent facilitator's findings that the school board deviated from its own policy when it decided to close Parkside Secondary School.
Patrick Rowan, part of the Parkside Works group fighting to save the school, said the report from facilitator Margaret Wilson to the Ministry of Education contains few surprises.
"It's exactly what we expected, quite frankly," he said. "I would have to say really we're actually pleased that we're looking at 27 pages. It means there was a lot of substance to our claim."
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board voted last spring to close Highland and Parkside — the only two high schools in Dundas — and rebuild a new school on the Highland site. Parkside was one of eight high schools the board voted to close.
The Parkside group appealed to the province for an independent review. The province appointed Wilson, whose only mandate was to determine if the board followed its own policies. She could not overturn the decision.
Wilson found a violation of the board's policy, but said that didn't impact the decision to close the school. The school information profile used by trustees didn't have enough "qualitative data," Wilson determined. But that was rectified before trustees made their decision.
The board is considering Wilson's findings as it reviews its school closure process, board chair Tim Simmons said.
"She made a number of good suggestions the board can now discuss and possibly implement."
The board has asked the Ministry of Education for money to build three new high schools. The ministry still hasn't made the decision that was expected in the fall.
But the board is sticking with its schedule, which is to close the high schools in 2015, Simmons said.