Parents and students walked out of a highly-charged EMSB meeting Wednesday night as administrators confirmed the closure of of St. Brendan and St. John Bosco Schools.
The English Montreal School Board sealed the fate of several schools at the meeting, held at Rosemont High School —capping months of back-and-forth between board councilors, parents' groups and steering committees.
Several schools were part of the EMSB's list of proposed closures and relocations, and hundreds of families will be affected.
Prior to Wednesday's meeting, the EMSB's long-range planning committee recommended that only three schools be shut down, as opposed to the board's original plan to close six institutions.
Schools that will close:
- St. John Bosco School in Ville-Émard.
- St. Brendan School in Rosemont.
- Fraser Academy in Ville St-Laurent.
Nesbitt School and James Lyng High School – originally on the chopping block – will remain open.
The school board's modified plans were announced following fierce opposition from parents and city councilors at a series of public consultations throughout December.
The EMSB has said it must close some schools and relocate several others because of declining enrolment, which has dropped by 20 per cent in the last decade.
Parents voice their concerns
Stella De Gaetano's daughter is a grade two student at St. John Bosco School. De Gaetano said the school has been like a big family.
"We've always done everything together, we've supported each other and now we're just going to be split apart," said De Gaetano.
St. Brendan parent Judith Morabito said she worries her children won't be at ease in a larger school.
"We would have appreciated to keep our own school, where the kids are used to functioning in their small and comfortable environment," said Morabito.
Julie Barlow, who has been fighting for months to keep Nesbitt School open, said despite the outcome she is still upset about the EMSB's decisions.
"I'm thrilled that Nesbitt is staying open, but (I'm) still angry that we were put through this process in the first place," said Barlow.