CDSBEO predicts nearly 600 space shortfall by 2030

·2 min read

KEMPTVILLE – By the year 2030, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario will go from a surplus to a deficit in school capacity.

Board trustees heard at its October 20th meeting that enrollment has been trending upward at the English-Catholic board.

Associate director Bonnie Norton told the board that based on last year’s actual enrollment and estimates for this year, the board will add about 85 full-time equivelent students in the 2020-21 school year.

“With regard to school consolidation and space utilization within CDSBEO schools, the board is seeing a slight surplus of 1,241 spaces,” she said.

The CDSBEO has seen increases at the elementary level for the past five years while secondary levels have increased over the past three years.

According to its ten-year projections, by 2025, the board will have only 272 surplus spaces board-wide.

“This surplus space is minimal, as the Board has done well over the last several years to assess capacity and school consolidation,” Norton said.

She told the board that by 2030, the CDSBEO will have a board-wide shortage of about 590 student spaces.

Space issues were discussed at an earlier joint meeting with the UCDSB and municipal officials this summer.

That meeting discussed community use of school facilities and showed that only three schools, Iona Academy in Williamstown, St. Finnan’s in Alexandria, and St. Francis Xavier in Brockville had a high amount of surplus spaces.

Area schools like St. Mary-St. Cecilia in Morrisburg have few surplus spaces and currently have portable classrooms on site to deal with higher enrollment numbers.

Norton said the board will be looking at growth areas within the board in order to address needed capital projects “appropriately”.

Since the 2016-17 Pupil Accommodation Review process in Cornwall, which resulted in one school closure and a realignment of Grade 7-8 students moving to secondary schools, the CDSBEO has made changes to its school capacity to lower surplus space.

The board sold a surplus elementary school in Cornwall to the UCDSB for its new T.R. Leger campus two years ago. The former General Vanier Secondary School building was purchased from UCDSB to renovate and relocate an elementary school next to St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School that same year.

Later the board relocated its St. Matthew Catholic Secondary School to a new location, a renovated former elementary school, also in Cornwall.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader