Parents have new hope for return of Wagar High

Parents pack Cote-Saint-Luc city council chambers Wednesday night to talk about the possible reopening of Wagar High School.
Parents pack Cote-Saint-Luc city council chambers Wednesday night to talk about the possible re-opening of Wagar High School. ((CBC))
Parents in Cote-Saint-Luc left an information meeting Wednesday with re-kindled hope that an English high school may return to their neighbourhood.

The neighbourhood hasn't had a English public high school since Wagar High closed down five years ago.

The English Montreal School Board and Cote-Saint-Luc city council are considering reopening Wagar, and held an information meeting at Cote-Saint-Luc city hall to find out what kind of school people would want to see.

Board commissioner Syd Wise, a former principal at Wagar High, said the turnout to the meeting gave him hope.

"If this is a demonstration of the interest, then I don't see why we can't become a viable school by 2012," said Wise.

Parents have expressed interest in having a school that focuses on sports or Jewish studies.

Amy Nathanson, a Wagar graduate, said the biggest issue for many parents is access to public English education — plain and simple.

"A lot of parents don't want or can't afford to come back to send their children to private school systems they want a public school system. They don't want to be busing their children. They want something close in the vicinity," she said.

Board chair Angela Mancini said a new English high school in the area is a priority for the EMSB, despite the fact student population across the board has been in a steady decline.

"I think it has to be a priority," said Mancini. "We have a firm belief in English Montreal that schools are part of the fabric of a community."

She cautions that the project is still in its infancy and would need ministry approval before going ahead.

The EMSB is planning more public consultations.