It was an emotional night in Oshawa as students and staff fought for one last time to try to keep Oshawa Central Collegiate open. But the fate of the school was in the school boards hands and the decision was to close the schools doors after 66 years.
‘It’s really devastating that it’s closing’ grade 10 student Kaitlyn Davis said after a 90 minute meeting at the DDSB boardroom.
Kaitlyn Davis is just one of many students and parents who were at the Durham District School Boards special board meeting on Monday night. They were hoping that their final plea would keep their school open. Unfortunately for Kaitlyn and the other 267 students that are currently enrolled at the school, the final bell will ring in June of this year.
“This is never an easy decision to make to close a school, but the way that it benefits students is that once they go to the schools that have larger programming they will be able to get some of those credits that they need to complete school.” Michael Barrett, Chairman of Durham District School Board Said after the meeting. “Some of those unique programs that are offered at Central will be transferred to other schools.”
For the next school year the students from Oshawa Central will attend RS McLaughlin Collegiate or Eastdale Collegiate. A move that has many in the community concerned that the decision does not have all students best interests at heart.
There are 44 students with Autism or are special needs students that are enrolled at the school and parents and organizers want to make sure the special programming is available at other schools.
“If that has not been thought of and talked about this is a moral issue on my part.” Sharon Lakhan, Autism Ontario said. “There is no way that 44 special need students can succeed, grow and reach their potential without the proper supports.”
There was municipal council representation at the meeting even though municipalities have absolutely no jurisdiction over school boards. Oshawa city councilors Amy McQuaid-England and John Aker attended the meeting..
McQuaid-England is vowing to do her part to get rid of the 9 school board members who voted to close the school.
“I think that is part of my mission in 2018 and I am actually considering myself dropping down and running for the school board because I see how inept they are at actually representing the people they are supposed to represent.”
“Where the city counselors, and I am not knocking them, have a perspective of looking at the governance model of a city.” Barrett commented “We’re looking at the governance model of the well-being of our children.”
Transportation for all current Oshawa Central students will be provided for a transitional period of 3 years.