School board looks to partner with city, closes 9 schools Monday

Hamilton’s public school board will send the city a letter this week asking to partner with it on two new elementary schools in west Flamborough. But time will tell if the city will support it.

The board ratified 9 elementary school closures on Monday

The board made its final decision on Flamborough, east Hamilton and Mountain schools on June 16. (Terry Asma/CBC)

Hamilton’s public school board will send the city a letter this week asking to partner with it on two new elementary schools in west Flamborough. But time will tell if the city will support it.

The decision came on the night Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board voted to close nine elementary schools.

The HWDSB will draft and send a letter to Mayor Bob Bratina on Tuesday asking for support in two projects – building a joint community centre and elementary school on city-owned land at Beverly Central, and building a community complex that includes a library and community space on board-owned land in Greensville.

The letter will come to council as soon as possible, said Coun. Robert Pasuta of Ward 14.

With an election coming on Oct. 27 and the former schools set to close in June 2015, the two parties are running out of time to hammer out agreements. Council also has fewer meetings in the summer.

“It’s gotta be soon,” Pasuta said.

Pasuta is still drumming up support among councillors who are vocally gun shy about partnering with the school board.

Last year, council voted down partnering with the board on a joint seniors centre and high school in the Pan Am precinct. Coun. Bob Morrow tried to resurrect the idea last week and the issue was deferred.

The sticking point seems to be the notion of building a school on city-owned land, Pasuta said.

“We’ve got to mend some fences with my colleagues in regards to partnering with the school board,” he said. “I keep saying to them, ‘What’s our motto? The best place to raise a child.’"

The board voted Monday to close nine elementary schools.

The following schools will close:

  • East Hamilton: Woodward, Roxborough Park
  • West Flamborough: Dr. John Seaton, Greensville, Beverly Central, Spencer Valley (replaced with the two new Greensville and Beverly sites)
  • Central Mountain: Linden Park, Cardinal Heights and Eastmount Park

The board will take a break from accommodation review studies for a year now, chair Jessica Brennan said.

Staff need time to implement the already decided school closures. The election in October plays a part. Also, communities need a break.

“We wanted to have at least a year as a moratorium where we didn’t make the community come back again for any school discussions,” she said.

The next school closure studies will be in west Hamilton, lower Stoney Creek and east Mountain.

The closure studies are driven by declining enrolment and increasing capital costs to maintain aging buildings.

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