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