Montreal

Lester B. Pearson School Board to move St. Thomas High School into Lindsay Place

Montreal's second-largest English school board has voted to move St. Thomas High School students into Lindsay Place High School on Broadview Avenue in Pointe-Claire in July 2021.

St. Thomas will be moved into building after student populations capped at both schools next year

Lester B. Pearson School Board made the decision Tuesday evening during a special meeting. (Matt D'Amours/CBC)

The Lester B. Pearson School Board will be moving St. Thomas High School students into Lindsay Place High School on Broadview Avenue in Pointe-Claire in July 2021.

Lindsay Place High School, which opened in 1962, will become St. Thomas High School once the process is complete.

"We know it's very difficult," said the board's chair, Noel Burke, after commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolutions at a special meeting Tuesday evening.

"It's a shock for many in the community, specifically for the Lindsay Place community,"

However, the planned mergers — including the consolidation of three adult learning centres — will be done in a way that will ensure the continuity of students services, Burke said. 

Place Cartier Adult Education Centre and its annex will be moved into the St. Thomas High School on Ambassador Avenue. Sources Adult and Career Centre will be transferred to the St. Thomas school building, as well.

A transition committee will be put in place to help with the mergers, and the 18-month transition period will allow for the needed renovations to completed, Burke said.

The goal, he explained, is to deliver "an enhanced learning experience for all of the students affected by these changes." 

The unanimous support among commissioners shows "the confidence we have in moving forward with this despite the emotional costs that are there," he said.

Decisions long in the making

Before launching public consultations this fall, the board spent two years analyzing its network of high schools — looking at factors such as enrolment trends, demographic projections and programming. 

The possibility of shuttering some schools and consolidating others was always there.

In January 2019, the board's Riverdale High School was transferred to the French-language Marguerite-Bourgeoys school board by Education Minister Jean-François Roberge. 

That decision forced Riverdale students to transfer to Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School and sparked concern among the board's commissioners that more schools could be lost to the board.

This fall, the Pearson board's chair said commissioners wanted to ensure buildings are sufficiently occupied so there's no risk of having them taken away by the education minister.

Other schools have been spared any mergers and instead will develop new education plans in the wake of Tuesday's vote.

Lachine's Lakeside Academy will be revising its education plan by May 2020, with a goal of having it in place by 2023. A possible co-habitation with the French-language Marguerite-Bourgeoys school board had been one of the options under consideration.

Beurling Academy in Verdun will also be asked to come up with a new plan. The possibility of moving its student body to the LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School was among the options discussed in the past.

With files from Matt D'Amours

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