Dawn-Euphemia councillors are worried about the fate of their community school and they want to talk to their public school board trustee about it.
The Lambton-Kent District School Board has laid out a six –year plan to close up to 16 schools in the district. One of the schools which could be closed is Dawn-Euphemia School.
Enrolment in Lambton-Kent schools is falling – in 10 years there will be about 1,150 fewer students in local schools. Dawn-Euphemia has one of the lowest enrolement rates with only 43 per cent of the school filled.
The board says with the province cutting funding for unused space and potential of losing another $4.2 million in the next three years – the board has to do something – especially considering the buildings the public board already has need about $202 million in upkeep.
“A reduction in the number of schools is necessary in order for the LKDSB’s capital dollars to be efficiently allocated to strengthen the learning environment for the maximum number of students on an equitable basis,” say officials in the report to trustees.
Part of the multi-year plan would see Dawn-Euphemia close, with students travelling to Dresden, Wallaceburg, or Brigden for classes.
All that has Dawn-Euphemia councillors – who have been advocating for a strong community school for years – worried. “When you read this, it looks like it’s crunch time,” says Councillor Bill Bilton.
The councillors will invite the local trustee to a January council meeting to explain the report and what could be done to save the school, but Mayor Al Broad isn’t hopeful.
“You need kids to fill the schools and unless you get the kids to fill the schools, they close,” he says. “It is unfortunate and it’s frustrating.”