NORTH PERTH – After a question-and-answer period at the April 26 Avon-Maitland District School Board board of trustees meeting, trustees voted to defer the decision on boundary changes. Instead of immediately following the recommendation from Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. and staff, they have instead published the detailed report to the community.
The report was prepared after learning the findings from a community survey opened from March 21 to April 3. Eight-hundred and thirty people responded to the survey. Seventy-five per cent described themselves as parents or guardians and 88 per cent were associated with Elma Township Public School (ETPS), Listowel District Secondary School (LDSS), Listowel Eastdale Public School (LEPS), and North Perth Westfield Elementary School (NPWES). These four schools are potentially the most affected by boundary changes.
The original options Watson suggested were:
Option 1/A: Assign students from NPWES to LDSS
Option 1/B: Assign students from NPWES to LDSS AND adjust boundary between LEPS and NPWES AND adjust boundary between LEPS and ETPS
Option 2/A: Grade 6 from LEPS feeds into ETPS for Grade 7-8
Option 2/B: Grade 6 from LEPS feeds into ETPS for Grade 7-8 AND adjust boundary between LEPS and NPWES
The report notes that there was a lack of a “clearly preferred option.” A few other suggestions were presented by community members, but they were ruled out for a number of reasons.
A number of concerns were presented with all of the options. For instance, “the LEPS community are concerned with the additional step their children must take as students move from LEPS to NPWES after Grade 6, and then on to Grades 9-12 at LDSS. There were concerns raised regarding the long-term viability of any solution, given the expected population growth in the North Perth area. There was a preference expressed to continue to allow border crossing as much as possible, in particular in the MCPS and MPS areas. There were competing concerns over the timing of any adjustments; a desire to make changes happen quickly contrasted by the desire to delay to allow the communities time to adjust.”
The most preferred option chosen in the survey was to “do nothing.” They noted that the public’s consultation is very beneficial, but understand that “any decision made will not reflect the desires of all impacted.”
In the end, the final recommendation was as follows:
“Begin the implementation process to adjust the following boundaries effective for the 2023/2024 school year:
Assign Grade 7-8 students from NPWES to LDSS
Adjust the boundary between LEPS and NPWES, as defined in area #1 of the map presented herein
Adjust the boundary between LEPS and ETPS as defined in area #2 of the map presented herein”
The full report is posted on the AMDSB website. The AMDSB will also be sharing it on social media so that the community can reach out with any questions they have.
To ask any questions regarding the boundary review, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connor Luczka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner