High schools in the hot seat – Ontario News

High schools in the hot seat – Ontario News

As the Thames Valley District school board mulls the future of a five public schools in the region, the spotlight of scrutiny is starting to shine on its underutilized high schools too.

From Woodstock to West Lorne, more than 80 per cent of the board’s high schools aren’t reaching their student capacity, according to the 2016 TVDSB Annual Planning Report. The public board is left to grapple with 6,089 unfilled student spaces – a significant inefficiency TVDSB is preparing to address.

TVDSB first tackled the stark reality in its Rethink Secondary Learning review released last June. Staff are preparing to present an updated report to trustees June 6 that will deal with the programming needs at each school. Further staff recommendations on consolidations, facility partnerships or closures will follow in another report.

“The whole accommodation piece will be further after that. This will be really looking at what we want the programs to be like in the schools,” said Valerie Nielsen, associate director of learning support services.

Staff compiling the subsequent report will have their work cut out for them. All 10 TVDSB high schools in Oxford and Middlesex county are falling short of capacity, leaving 2,368 available spaces. It’s the same story in Elgin, where four of five public high schools are at less than 100 per cent, creating 1,124 empty spots. London is dealing with a 2,596 student gap caused by under-enrolment at eight of the city’s 12 public high schools.

“There are enrolment versus capacity concerns within the secondary school sector across all our secondary schools,” said Middlesex County trustee Arlene…

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