School Closures In Chatham Are No Sweat

Dan Parr, Director of Education for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board. (Photo by Aaron Hall)

The St. Clair Catholic District School Board’s¬†director of education isn’t surprised there’s little to no opposition to closing elementary schools in Chatham.

There were no delegations at the school board meeting Tuesday night and Dan Parr says it’s because the process has been very open and transparent.

Trustees vote March 28 on whether or not to close six elementary schools in Chatham, renovate one and build two new schools.

Parr says low enrollment is to blame.

“People can see we have a fairly severe declining enrollment coupled with some large facilities bills on the horizon,” says Parr. “So they can see it doesn’t make a lot of sense to continue doing the same thing we’ve been doing.”

The new and renovated schools should be open to students in September of 2019, if the closures are approved by the trustees and the province.

Parr says parents have already had their concerns voiced and questions answered.

“We had a very comprehensive process of communicating and consulting with the community going back to September,” he says.¬†“Many boards have submitted solid business cases.”

Parr adds that the board has its own solid business case, but understands final approval comes from the Ministry of Education based on the number of cases and dollars available.