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Bellmoore

Temporary Accommodation

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(Update: February 26, 2019): At the Board Meeting on February 25, 2019, Trustees rescinded the decision of November 26, 2018 and approved that any new families within the south boundary be redirected to the new school on the Summit Park Site until a permanent solution can be found to solve the accommodation pressures at Bellmoore. For more information, please click on the following links:

Trustees approved a motion at their board meeting on Monday, December 17, 2018, to apply the boundary review policy to the temporary accommodation strategy at Bellmoore Elementary (and to include other potential impacted schools) and report back to trustees no later than March 2019.

This motion means:

  • An advisory panel will be established to advise the Superintendent of Student Achievement on the temporary accommodation strategy after reviewing community input and using local expertise.
  • The advisory panel meeting are open to the public for viewing.
  • There will be opportunities for public input through community consultation, which also includes a public meeting.

As you’re aware, the Advisory Panel for the Bellmoore School Temporary Accommodation Strategy has concluded its mandate to meet. The discussion will now move to the next stage in the decision-making process.

During the last meeting held on February 5, the panel narrowed the options from nine to three. The preferred options by the panel are options 1, 2 and 8.

The Superintendent of Student Achievement will prepare and present a report to the Board of Trustees by March 2019. The tentative date for the report will be presented at the Board Meeting on February 25. The Board Meeting agenda, including the report, will be posted on February 22, 2019 on the Board Meetings page.


Bellmoore Information Night for School Transitions
December 11, 2018
Presentation

Temporary Accommodation Advisory Panel
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Advisory Panel Presentation

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Advisory Panel Presentation
Minutes

Public Meeting
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Presentation
Public Meeting Minutes

Student Impact

Was the psychological impact this move would have on the students considered and why weren’t supports put in place for them at the time the announcement was made?

HWDSB is aware of the challenges and stress that a change in school has on families and has a number of strategies and supports available to assist in the transition.

We recognize that changing schools can be a difficult time for students and their families. As we move into the transition phase, supports will be made available for all students.

How does an adjustment to bell times help families both before and after school?

Currently, the Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Service is conducting a bell time review across the district in an effort to find efficiencies.

It is the practice of HWSTS to ensure that bell times for all partner board schools are compatible to allow for efficient routing based on the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) approved annual school bell times.

The bus runs will be reconfigured in the spring during the annual planning time and before and after school will be considered in the case of Bellmoore and Summit Park.

What will be done to support the grade 7 and 8 students from outside the Summit Park area as they attempt to integrate with students whose families reside in the area and whose families are being kept together?

This is the purpose of establishing a Transition Committee. The committee will review many factors to help HWDSB ensure a smooth transition for students to a new school.

Will students that are awaiting Specialized assessments or supports have to start the processes fresh at Summit Park?

No. During the transition of students to another school, transition meetings will happen between school staff and current student assessment lists will transfer to the new site.

What positive tangible impact is anticipated for K-6 students at Bellmoore?

The positive tangible impact for the remaining K-6 students would be:

  • Reducing the number of students at Bellmoore will create more access for students to spaces such as the gym, library, dance studio, etc…
  • Eases the current congestion the school is faced with
  • Reduces the number of portables that are currently on site
  • Younger students remain in the school closer to their home
  • Movement of Grade 7 and 8 students creates more predictable enrolment growth for both schools

The above answer is an oxymoron, the 2018 Facilities Management Report produced by the HWDSB reports that best practice is for all elementary schools to be a K-8 model. Why now is the board trying to sell K-6 as positive?

Our Long-Term Facilities Master Plan states that we do favour a K-8 model for elementary schools. However, the plan also says that the best school capacity would be between 450 to 650 students. As Bellmoore elementary school is twice the optimal capacity of an elementary school, we need to find a temporary accommodation solution for Bellmoore.

Please answer on the Q&A site if you feel that a K-6 school is best practice for students. Please also include in your answer empirical evidence suggesting why you feel a K-6 model is best practice for students?

We are not stating that a K-6 model is the best practice as a long-term solution. What we are saying is that to alleviate the current accommodation pressures facing Bellmoore, a K-6 model is the best temporary solution.

We still support the K-8 model for our elementary schools as reported through our Long-Term Facilities Master Plan.

Your point that younger students remain in the school closer to home can only be seen as a positive if viewed in complete isolation of the actual circumstances. Why is the HWDSB favouring keeping the younger students who have never been enrolled at Bellmoore and therefore will require no transition if they were to attend another school over our young children who are already attending Bellmoore and now will no longer be able to start their days from home and go home after school?

This decision is not a matter of favouring one section of the student population over another. Part of the rationale for moving Grade 7 and 8 students was that the older grade students would be able to handle the transition better than the younger students, while providing them the opportunity to attend a school with their future secondary school peers.

Literally, hundreds of primary children ages JK-5 will lose their ability to have a solid family start and end to their day at home and will now need to have paid for caregivers in an institutional setting and or shuffle through home care placements as they open and close. There won’t be enough child care placements. What is the evidence that the board used to determine that keeping 150 Jk students 10 minutes closer to home was a better decision then displacing another 300-500 existing Jk-8 students who will now either have to leave their school and or go into the care of a paid stranger?

We know that transitions are difficult for everyone involved. Because of this knowledge, we work to minimize the impact on students and families.

A transition of the Kindergarten students to the new school on the Summit Park site would also need them to transition back to Bellmoore in the future.

Who is responsible for this decision?

Staff reviewed many options and then presented their best option to Trustees at the Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting on November 14, 2018. Members of this committee approved the following motion “that Bellmoore School be temporarily changed to a K-6 school until a permanent solution can be found to solve the accommodation pressures.” This motion was then approved by the Board of Trustees at their November 26, 2018 Board Meeting.

How does the Board respond to the fact that our children will be provided with a transient education due to the HWDSB’s own decision?

We do not feel that students affected by this decision have experienced a transient education. As much as we try to minimize the amount of transitions students have to face, many students experience multiple transitions throughout their educational experience with success.

We have many students who transition into new schools at Junior Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 6 and then again when they enter high school.

Our children who have been selected to move were already a group who were moved previously. They will have spent their elementary education at three different schools despite their families remaining in the same community. How is their education equitable when compared to their peers at the alternate HWDSB schools?

Many of our students go through four or more transitions throughout their education. This would be similar to the transitions that the Grade 7 & 8 students would go through.

Who was the well-being expert consulted when determining which cohort of students should be moved?

We know that transitions are difficult for everyone involved. Because of this knowledge, we work to minimize the impact on students and families, which includes providing the supports necessary for students in areas of:

  • Autism & Neurodevelopmental
  • English as a Second Language
  • Psychological
  • Social Work
  • Special Education
  • Speech and Language
  • Student Success

Was Superintendent Stephanian (the Superintendent of Equity and Well Being) consulted?

The decision was made with all members of Executive Council, which is made up of all Superintendents and the Director of Education.

What are Ms. Stephanian’s qualifications to be weighing in on Equity and Well Being?

Superintendent Stephanian is the Superintendent assigned to equity and well being.

Within the equity and well-being division, we have many experts in the fields of Early Years, Mental Health, Social Work, and Human Rights.

Why is the HWDSB hiring a person educated in business as the lead professional for student equity and well-being?

This question is out of the scope of the current situation at Bellmoore.

Where is the guidance coming from in order to make these large-scale decisions that will impact entire communities?

The decision was made with all members of Executive Council, which is made up of all Superintendents and the Director of Education.

What evidence-based practice/mental health expert was used to determine that the grade 7&8 population was most equipped to deal with the transition?

Within the equity and well-being division, we have many experts in the fields of Early Years, Mental Health, Social Work, and Human Rights.

Why were there no supports in place for students when the announcement was made?

We know that transitions are difficult for everyone involved. Because of this knowledge, we work to minimize the impact on students and families. Because we know that everyone handles situations differently, we try to work with students and families on a one on one case as the need arises.

If anyone feels that their child needs any supports, they can speak to the school principal to begin the process of getting the appropriate supports for their child.

Why was it made so that students found out before their parents?

This was an unintentional error on our part. Our intention was not for students to find out before the parents. When we send home messages through our telephone service, we try to set the timing of the phone calls for later in the evening, but also must balance ensuring that the message is delivered to all intended homes. Based on this experience, we have adjusted our delivery times for phone messages to take place later in the evening.

You state in your answer that you are aware of the challenges and stress that a change in school has on families. So why are you making a decision that forces families to change a number of dynamics?

We are not trying to force families to make decisions that affect a number of dynamics. We are trying to balance the enrolment between Bellmoore and the new school on the Summit Park site to provide all students with access to appropriate space and programming.

You also mention that a number of strategies and supports are being put in place, what are they?

Student needs for the transition will be addressed through the Transition Advisory Committee. If you feel your child needs strategies or supports immediately, please speak to your school principal.

Transition activities involve hearing from students, as well as hosting activities so the student population can begin to get to know each other before September. If any students need specific supports, we have experts available to support these students in our schools.

We will also have supports in place in the fall when students begin the 2019-2020 school year the new school on the Summit Park site.

Are they paid professionals now having to roll out strategies and supports?

Any supports and strategies put into place for students will be available through Board staff, working with the school principal and the classroom teacher. Our staff include experts in:

  • Autism & Neurodevelopmental
  • English as a Second Language
  • Psychological
  • Social Work
  • Special Education
  • Speech and Language
  • Student Success

How will HWDSB support students who are losing their chance to pursue their passions for sports and the arts?

Through this transition, we are expecting that students will have more available experiences in the arts and in sports. With Bellmoore at a reduced enrolment, there will be more space and available times for students to have access to the arts and sports programming. This will also be the case for students transitioning to the new school on the Summit Park site.

How is this equitable, considering they have already had lower access to sports and arts due to their school dynamics?

Please see the previous answer. By opening space at Bellmoore, we will be able to give more access, not less for students in sports and the arts.

Transportation

What are you going to do to fix the busing to get our kids to school and back on time and in a safe manner?

The Transportation Policy’s intended outcomes say that the Board will take steps to ensure the board can provide safe, timely, effective and efficient transportation services.  The Board is looking at many ways to resolve the current bus driver shortage issues including working with the providers, reviewing bell times and reviewing walk distances.

How many bus stops will be implemented to transport the Grade 7 and 8’s?

This will be determined during the transportation planning process for next year.  The intention is to mirror the existing bus stops, where possible.

Will after-school programs exist for Grade 7 and 8 students and if so what will transportation home look like?

The programs offered and the timing of those programs are determined at the school level, based on the interest and availability of staff and students.  The Board does not currently provide late buses at elementary schools.

How will busing be addressed for students that are already on the bus for 60 minutes when Summit Park is a further ride?

HWDSB will follow the Transportation Policy which says that the scheduled length of time on a vehicle shall not exceed 60 minutes one way.

Child Care

What happens to those of us that can’t afford daycare and no longer have an older sibling to look after the younger child? 

The city of Hamilton has a financial support program for families.  The financial support is based on a financial needs assessment.  For more information, visit the City of Hamilton’s Financial Support for Child Care.

How are you going to address the issue of Umbrella Family and Child Centres not having enough staff for the increase of students in before and after school programs? 

There is a shortage of qualified staff across the province of Ontario.  We are working with the city of Hamilton, and the Ministry of Education, to understand how we can support operators to meet the demand for care, and we are communicating with operators like Umbrella to understand what the unmet needs are.

Is the Board willing to subsidize daycare for the families that can’t afford it?

The province provides funding to cities, and cities supplement that funding to ensure eligible families have access to care.

Does the Board receive a kickback from before and after school programs?

No. Before and after care operators pay HWDSB a subsidized license fee for use of Board space. The fee covers heating, lighting and cleaning of licensed space.

What about addressing the availability of daycare spaces?

HWDSB has worked with the not-for-profit operators in our schools to expand service to meet the needs of families.  In cases where we are not able to meet the demand in school locations, we refer families to the city of Hamilton’s Child Care Registry to support families in finding community-based programs.

Did you notify the city that the HWDSB is making a decision that will inflate the need for subsidy in our area?

The City of Hamilton has been made aware of the HWDSB’s decision to re-locate grade 7 and 8 students from Bellmoore Elementary School to the new school on the Summit Park site.

Is the city ok with covering subsidy that is not needed if the plan were different?

The city is committed to working with the school board and our child care community partners to support families that are impacted by this decision and require licensed before and after school child care.

Financial support is available to eligible families that need child care. For more information on eligibility criteria and to apply online for fee subsidy please go to https://www.hamilton.ca/social-services/early-years-and-child-care-services/apply-financial-support-child-care. Families may apply for financial support up to three months in advance of when they require care.

Is there even money in the city’s budget to cover an increase in the need for subsidy?

As of December 2018, The City of Hamilton does not currently have a waitlist for fee subsidy. In the event that a waitlist was required due to budgetary pressures, the city would apply its waitlist policy, which prioritizes those families that are most in need.

Has the HWDSB asked these questions to actually know if your answer on the Q&A site for a solution to finances is viable?

We have spoken with The City of Hamilton and they have provided the responses to these questions.

Does the province know that the HWDSB is making a decision that will inflate the need for reliance on government money?

The Ministry of Education, Early Years & Child Care Division has been made aware of the transition of Grade 7 & 8 students from Bellmoore and the potential impact on child care needs in the community.

How is it equitable that the board has put our children into a state of overcrowding for many years where parents have had to spend their own income to allow our children equal access to sports, music and literature as compared to other HWDSB schools and are now making a decision that will dramatically impact our ability to continue to supply those opportunities for our children? Paid for before and after care will cost our families approximately $4,000 per year.

One of the benefits of the transition of Grade 7 & 8 students from Bellmoore to Summit Park is that reducing the capacity of students at Bellmoore allows for more programming options for students in the newly available space. This also applies to Summit Park, in that programming options will be available for students as there will not be space issues at Summit Park.

Considering you are planning to remove close to 200 students who are baby sitting age most of whom are watching at least one sibling or neighbour’s child (many are watching 2 or more), we can anticipate that approximately 200-300 children will be without care in our community. Did the HWDSB factor this into the decision making?

This element of child care was considered when the temporary accommodation decision was being discussed. One of the factors we are currently waiting on, is the bell time study being conducted by Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Services and how this may impact students and families.

With only one new child care centre opening in Binbrook (the three we have are already wait listed at a year or more) where will these children go?

We continue to work with the city of Hamilton and the Ministry of Education, to understand how we can support operators to meet the demand for care in all communities across HWDSB.

There are wait lists across the city and it is not viable to ask our rural community to be driving to Waterdown/Ancaster/Winona/City Centre for child care spaces. Has the HWDSB done an impact study on the decision to bus out the grade 7&8’s as a best practice for our community’s specific demographics?

There is a shortage of qualified staff across the province of Ontario.  We are working with The City of Hamilton, and the Ministry of Education, to understand how we can support operators to meet the demand for care.

A transportation impact study has not been done for child care purposes. Although communities are unique across the city, we are not able to afford or are in a position, to be able to create unique transportation options for all the various communities across the city of Hamilton. This would make a challenging busing situation that much more challenging and impact all students and families in a more negative way than they are currently being impacted.

Has the HWDSB asked any child development specialist if removing the ability for children to be at home in the mornings and return to their home after school and instead placing them in paid for care situations is a supportive decision to our children’s well being?

When we make a temporary accommodation decision such as this, we do work with our various departments to come up with the best solution for all students. We have no evidence that there is a negative impact on student achievement or well-being for students who are placed in Before or After school programs.

Having to move through multiple caregivers due to staff transitions, home based providers opening and closing, etc. Does the HWDSB think this is a good plan for the young children in our community? If so why?

We continue to work with The City of Hamilton and our child care providers to try and provide stable child care options in all of our communities.

Transition Committee

What will be the qualifications of the transition committee?

The transition committee is an advisory body and is made up of students (depending on grades), parents, community members, school staff, and principals of all the affected schools going through the transition. Their role is to provide advice and raise concerns on behalf of the school community.

How long will the transition committee be involved?

Generally, transition committees are involved right up to and immediately after students transition into their new school. This is to provide advice to HWDSB staff before, during and after the transition.

Why is the board choosing a path that creates added committees as opposed to capping enrollment which will require no committees?

Part of the rationale for moving Grade 7 and 8 students was that the older grade students would be able to handle the transition better than the younger students while providing them the opportunity to attend a school with their future secondary school peers.

I am not sure if the HWDSB understood the enormity of the concerns families are facing with this decision. Having a meet and greet BBQ is not going to fix the lack of child care, lack of transportation, additional family stress and strain on resources. Is the transition committee going to be filling out subsidy applications and advocating to the city to approve them?

Child care subsidy applications are the responsibility of parents who require them. Financial support is available to eligible families that need child care. For more information on eligibility criteria and to apply online for fee subsidy please go to https://www.hamilton.ca/social-services/early-years-and-child-care-services/apply-financial-support-child-care. Families may apply for financial support up to three months in advance of when they require care.

Is the transition committee going to come to the school to support the students who academics scores are falling due to a transition during this most vulnerable time?

The Transition Committee is made up of community members to gives the community an opportunity to voice their collective thoughts, consideration of all the diverse views of the community and students to make the transition as seamless as possible. Part of their role will be to raise concerns, such as the one in this question so that staff can ensure the proper supports are in place for students.

Is the transition committee going to be able to support the community in dealing with the anti-social behaviour of our disenfranchised teenagers?

The Transition Committee is made up of members of the impacted school communities. Though these members, it is the community’s opportunity to voice their collective thoughts and consideration of all the diverse views of the community and students to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Facilities and Planning

What is the Board doing to meet today’s and the future population’s needs?

The Board plans for new schools in coordination with The City of Hamilton’s Official Plan and Secondary Plans. An official plan outlines the short and long-term development plans for Hamilton based on specific goals and policies.

Secondary Plans are part of the city-wide plan but they focus on specific geographic locations within the city of Hamilton. The secondary plans include land-use plans which identify future residential, commercial, park, utility, open space and school lands.

Through the secondary plans, HWDSB identifies designated school sites.

View the Binbrook Village Secondary Plan.

How is land assigned to school boards? Why aren’t they able to pursue other lands?

School Boards typically identify lands through municipal secondary plans and identified land use plans. Secondary plan areas containing residential growth are ideal for school locations for their ability to service student population densities.

Boards are not precluded from pursuing other lands. However, the need for land is largely driven by residential growth and secondary plans are largely the mechanism that drives the growth and need for educational facilities.

Secondary planning at the municipal level compliments the building of school locations by planning for the services needed (water, sewage, hydro) to develop all infrastructure proposed – residential, industrial, commercial, institutional.

How long will this temporary solution last?

This solution would be in place until a new school in Binbrook is completed. Estimated time would be 5 to 7 years.

How is a minimum of 5-6 years considered temporary?

This is a temporary solution because it only addresses accommodation solutions for a period of time until the school population stabilizes.

Why was the Bell-Stone Property not utilized?

Bell-Stone school was closed in June 2014 and was amalgamated with Mount Hope school. Due to the size and location of the school, it was deemed surplus and sold in 2015. The proceeds from the sale of the building are used to improve existing facilities.

Why did the Board not utilize the three properties that were available to them?

HWDSB owns only two properties in Binbrook – Bellmoore and Michaelle Jean.

Why are such drastic measures being taken now when the Board knew 10 years ago that the school would not accommodate the numbers?

Long-term plans have always included a new school south of Binbrook Road to accommodate the development in Binbrook.

The Board has attempted to accommodate everyone in Binbrook at Bellmoore with the 19 portables. Due to the timing of a new school, an accommodation strategy had to be established.

School Boards typically identify lands through municipal secondary plans and identified land use plans. Secondary plan areas containing residential growth are ideal for school locations for their ability to service student population densities. The completion of all development lands and services has largely dictated when HWDSB could acquire new lands

Why is the Board not considering grandfathering existing families and redirecting new families to alternative schools?

HWDSB did consider other options which included changing Bellmoore’s boundary and sending new families to Summit Park. The rationale for moving Grade 7 and 8 students was:

  • Reducing the number of students at Bellmoore will create more access to specialty spaces (gym, library, dance studio, etc.)
  • Younger students remaining in the school closer to their home
  • Movement of Grade 7 and 8 students creates more predictable enrolment growth for both schools
  • Students transition to Summit Park together as a grade and attend school with other students that will also attend Saltfleet Secondary School
  • Summit Park school is in the same neighbourhood as Saltfleet Secondary School
  • All students/families are impacted by grade change and not only new families – do not have neighbours attending different schools

Why can’t numbers be addressed through attrition?

Please see the previous answer as it addresses this question as well.

How is the School Board justifying displacing existing students with newcomers to the community?

It is difficult to determine the equity of access to Bellmoore, but HWDSB chose the option that keeps all younger students close to their homes.

Why has the Board not adjusted the boundaries for Bellmoore?

The population concentration centred in Binbrook makes it challenging to divide the community. Particularly, “where to draw the line” and divide the community.  The ‘assigning grades to another location’ option disperses the impact across the Binbrook community as apposed to dividing it.

Why has Board not capped enrollment at Bellmoore?

Capping enrolment would essentially be the same as the proposed redirection of Grade 7 and 8 students from the community. The difference is that in a ‘capped’ version, all students regardless of age would be leaving the community to attend elsewhere.

Can the Board consider Kinder kids at Michaelle Jean to alleviate numbers from Bellmoore given they are future FI students?

Michaelle Jean does not have the capacity for kindergarten students.

If projections were inaccurate for Bellmoore, how can the community feel confident in projections currently being shared?

Bellmoore was not built to accommodate all students in Binbrook. A second new school has always been required for Binbrook. Originally it was expected that the school site in Binbrook would be available for purchase in 2019. Development of the land has been slower than expected and the ownership of the land recently changed. There are issues with servicing (sewer, roads, utilities) the residential development due to property issues. There are always conditions that cannot be predicted when dealing with residential development.

There are signs in the community that indicate that people moving into new builds in the community should not expect Bellmoore to be their child’s school. Why is the Board not following the practice they are advertising?

The sign seen in the community is placed on every new development. This is standard procedure, but we do try to accommodate all students in their in-catchment school as much as possible.

What happens when Saltfleet becomes over capacity?

The capacity for students at Saltfleet is 1,173. The enrolment on October 31, 2018, was 1,110.

Saltfleet can accommodate additional students through efficient timetabling and scheduling by the administration. This helps to ensure that all usable spaces within the building are being used for accommodating classes.

Saltfleet is currently on a 5-period schedule which allows for more flexible timetabling and use of space.

If enrolment increases beyond the capacity of the permanent structure and portables, a boundary review of the Saltfleet catchment area should be considered, provided there is excess space in neighbouring secondary schools. If there is no excess space in neighbouring secondary schools, additional capacity would be requested through Ministry of Education capital priorities funding.

What happens to our kids when the school on the Summit Park site is over capacity?

Summit Park will open near or at capacity if we include the Grade 7 and 8’s from Bellmoore. As the community grows the addition of a portapak and potentially additional portables will be required. Long-term planning includes an additional school in Binbrook in future development and an additional school at Green Moutain Road West and First Road West in Upper Stoney Creek.

How many residential developments are opening around the school on the Summit Park site? Exact number of homes requested.

Development Name Status Single Family Multi Unit Apartment Total
Summit Park – Phase 10, Stage 1 Registered/Under Construction 150 350 0 500
Summit Park – Remaining Phases Draft Approved 368 158 0 526
Redhill Summit East Draft Approved 69 28 0 97
The Crossing phase 2 Draft Approved 78 57 0 135
Total 665 593 0 1258

What are your plans if the new school on Summit Park doesn’t open on time?

We are confident it will open on time.  Should it not, we would examine temporarily utilizing all spaces within Bellmoore. This will likely be at the expense of programming (gym classes, for example).

Could you put 2-3 storey portables in place of the current portables? Or even add more portables?

The municipal service requirements, which includes electrical and washrooms, for additional students, would be the barrier to adding portables vertically. It is also likely that construction and funding would be additional barriers to using vertical portables as a temporary solution.

To add more portables at Bellmoore, we would need to address:

  • Washroom counts (currently maxed out female washroom count)
  • Parking space counts
  • Portable access to fire hydrants (fire code)
  • Setbacks from property line & berms on sides of the property
  • Bus pickup and drop off
  • Childcare addition
  • Sightlines/supervision due to portables
  • Access to the blacktop play area

Furthermore, the parents at the information night on December 11th left their email addresses and were told we would be sent the slides from the meeting and the exact enrollment numbers/predictions that the board is using. We have not received anything to date. Please supply this information to complete your answer on the Q&A as to predictable enrollment?

The presentation is available on the Temporary Accommodation page on Bellmoore’s website. The direct link to the presentation is http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/bellmoore/files/2019/01/Bellmoore-7-8-MoveFinal.pdf

Is there is a time deadline and a mandated number that the population of the current school had to be reduced by?

We need to decrease the Bellmoore student population by September 2019. Otherwise, we would need to add portables, which we do not have the space, washroom capacity, or parking to accommodate.

As long as we make reasonable reductions annually and stay under the safe population number which I believe 1200 was mentioned, why do we have to make such a drastic one step move that effects those 200 plus children and their families displacing them from their school community and home?

By reducing Bellmoore by 200 students for September 2019, it opens up space within the school for more access to programming for students. September 2019 is also the optimal time for this transition, as students will all be starting new at a new school on the Summit Park site, therefore having all students on equal footing as they begin at the new school.

JK registration starts at Bellmoore on February 4th.  I expect that a letter be handed to each new registrant that is not grandfathered into the school that new students from the development are likely to be redirected to schools outside the area with available capacity as the signs in the surrounding area state.  That way if a cap is to be placed, those families have been made aware of this situation, as we were made aware in 2011 when our children were bused out of the area to Mount Albion.

Kindergarten registration will take place at the beginning of February. Families registering their child for Kindergarten at Bellmoore will be provided a letter that explains the school is undergoing a temporary accommodation review that may impact their kindergarten student.

I would like to know the HWDSB criteria that is used to establish an ARC identification?

The Pupil Accommodation Policy can be found at http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Pupil-Accommodation-Review.pdf.

In short, here are the Guiding Principles that outline what HWDSB is committed to do prior to starting an Accommodation Review:

  • Investigate accommodation strategies that support the key criteria listed below – such as:
    • boundary reviews, grade reorganizations and program reallocation to effectively fill underutilized instructional space
    • removal of sections of schools to reduce operating costs
  • Pursue community facility partners who can meet HWDSB partnership criteria requirements
  • Advocate for fair and equitable funding from the Ministry of Education to support quality teaching and learning environments;
  • Pursue creative initiatives to generate operating dollars or reduce operating costs; and
  • Maintain an up-to-date Long-Term Facilities Master Plan (LTFMP).

The key criteria of accommodation reviews include, but are not limited to:

  • Student achievement and the conditions that support student achievement
  • School board financial viability/sustainability
  • Student well-being
  • The Guiding Principles as defined in HWDSB’s Long-Term Facilities Master Plan

I would like to know the HWDSB definition of temporary because the 7-10 years as was discussed last night is not temporary and I would like justification on how this is a temporary measure?

This is a temporary measure because it is not a permanent solution. Students from Bellmoore, who are to transition to the new school on Summit Park, will return to a school in the Binbrook community in the future.

If this is truly temporary, then why would the grade 7 and 8 teachers have no job to return to?

We follow staffing processes in collaboration with our union partners to staff Bellmoore and the new Summit Park site. This does not mean that teachers have no job to return to.

I would like the updated estimated numbers of all the students from all the surrounding schools that are being transferred to the Summit park school for September 2019. I would like to see the justification mathematically that supports this decision with the understanding that Summit Park will open at capacity. The document from the Summit park boundary review is outdated, as the enrolment numbers are from 2017 and I believe there have been hundreds of new homes built there since 2017. I also don’t understand why Bellmoore wasn’t included or involved in the boundary meetings regarding Summit park if we were clearly destined to end up there.

Bellmoore was not included into the Summit Park boundary review because that review was looking at creating a permanent boundary for Summit Park.

These updated numbers are from our October 31, 2018 enrolment count:

Summit Park on The Ground Capacity: 625

Summit Park projected 2019 enrolment: 634 (including Bellmoore students)

Tapleytown students: 185

Janet Lee students: 176

New development and Kindergarten Registration: 65

I would like to know why the idea of English Kindergarten at MJ was quickly shot down. Perhaps that choice with a cap on registration (that should have happened years ago), coupled with new enrolment of new Binbrook families to summit park would keep the numbers where they need to be.

The option of having kindergarten placed at Michaelle Jean is not feasible for a number of reasons, some of which include:

  • Michaelle Jean is a single track French Immersion school, and as French Immersion starts in Grade 1, placing kindergarten students there would turn it into a dual track school
  • Renovations would need to take place at Michaelle Jean, and as this school is enclosed in the Greenbelt, we cannot undertake major renovations, nor have city services for water and wastewater.
  • This option would also significantly hurt the chances of a new school being built in the Binbrook community in the future.
  • The French Immersion process is a central system application that guarantees a placement in the program, not a specific school. This means that even if Kindergarten students were at Michaelle Jean, they may not be attending that school as their Grade 1 French Immersion school.

Why would you not just cap enrollment as previously posted on signs in town, so no students or families need to make a transition?

These are standard signs placed around all new developments within the city of Hamilton. The issue in the case of Bellmoore is that just redirecting those moving into new developments does not alleviate the accommodation pressures currently facing the school, as moving students from new developments doesn’t diminish the current student population at Bellmoore.

General Questions

Why was the public right to consultation ignored? Student voice? Was a vote considered?

When we make these operational decisions, we always keep the students best interests in mind. We do not consult the community on temporary accommodations. We review all options with the goal in mind of limiting the amount of transitions students would face.

With the direction passed by the Board of Trustees, on Monday, December 17, we will now follow the process outlined through the Boundary Review Policy.

Who do I need to contact to get a new school built in this area in an efficient timeframe?

Although a future site has been identified for building a new school in the future, we are not able to purchase the land yet. The future site is identified as part of the developer’s subdivision plan, through the City.

At this point in time, we don’t have a timeline for this future site as we don’t know when the land will be for sale, when it will be serviced, or when future capital grants through the Ministry will be available.

If you have any questions about the timeliness of building a new school in the Binbrook area, please speak to your Member of Provincial Parliament.

Are you willing to listen to the community and re-open this discussion?

Trustees approved a motion at their board meeting on Monday, December 17, 2018, to apply the boundary review policy to the temporary accommodation strategy at Bellmoore Elementary (and to include other potential impacted schools) and report back to trustees no later than March 2019.

This motion means:

  • An advisory panel will be established to advise the Superintendent of Student Achievement on the temporary accommodation strategy after reviewing community input and using local expertise.
  • The advisory panel meetings are open to the public for viewing.
  • There will be opportunities for public input through community consultation, which also includes a public meeting.

Can funds received from the Ministry be re-appropriated due to the delays in obtaining land for further building?

Unfortunately, this is not an option as the funding received by the Ministry of Education for Capital Grants must be spent on the approved project, or the Ministry will take back the funds.

What specific process, including timelines, is in place for assessing the progress for the Summit Park build?

Information about the new school being built on the Summit Park site can be found by visiting our School Construction page and clicking on the Summit Park tab.

What will happen to staff?

We follow staffing processes in collaboration with our union partners to staff Bellmoore and the new Summit Park site.

How are taxes allocated to the School Board? What portion of taxes go to Education? How does that filter to the School Board?

The present system of funding elementary and secondary education in Ontario was introduced in 1998, as part of a series of reforms the government began making to Ontario’s education system in 1995.

Before 1998, school boards would set local education property tax rates, and municipalities would collect the taxes on boards’ behalf.

Under the present system, the government sets a uniform rate, based on a current value assessment system, for the education portion of property taxes for all residential properties in the province. It sets a rate that varies by municipality for the education portion of business property taxes. Municipalities collect the education portion of property taxes for the school boards in their communities. The Ministry of Education, using the student-focused funding formula, determines each board’s overall allocation.

More information can be found through the Education Funding in Ontario document.

Is there a firm deadline on a final decision?

Based on the motion passed by the Board of Trustees on Monday, December 17, 2018, staff will report back to Trustees no later than March 2019.

I would also expect after the question link is fixed (or once you have redirected the group on how to navigate the website in a step by step fashion), that this question and answer opportunity be made available to the entire Bellmoore community as you did for the original information session.  I don’t believe that the entire school understands that the proposed plan is likely a permanent change (in 7-10 temporary years, my grade 6 son will be almost finished university).  That way everyone has an opportunity to ask questions instead of just those of us in this email loop.

The question and answer section on Bellmoore’s website is available to the entire community through the school’s website.

If questions arise, people can email the Superintendent of Student Achievement, Paul Denomme at khussey@hwdsb.on.ca

I am still waiting for documentation regarding this process and all the documentation resulting from this decision at Bellmoore. Again, if transparency is your goal, I expect to have that information. You took minutes last night, I imagine there MUST be information regarding how you followed protocol regarding this.

We do not consult the community on temporary accommodations. The process for determining the accommodation is done in consultation with departments within HWDSB.

Any documentation around this decision can be found at:

November 14, 2018 – Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting

November 26, 2018 – Board of Trustee Meeting Agenda

November 26, 2018 – Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes

If there is specific data or documentation that you are requesting, please email the Superintendent of Student Achievement, Paul Denomme at khussey@hwdsb.on.ca

I would also like justification as to why my other son won’t be able to stay with his older brother should this motion pass? If your goal is to keep families together, then I expect there to be accommodation for my other son at Summit Park. Otherwise it seems you are picking and choosing which families you keep together.

We did review the option of families being able to send all children to the new school on Summit Park. The reason this option wasn’t explored further was because if all the younger siblings moved with the Grade 7 & 8’s, it would just transplant the issue Bellmoore is facing onto the new school at Summit Park. We are trying to create a more balanced and predictable enrolment between Bellmoore and the new school on the Summit Park site.

Our concerned Binbrook community members have a few questions that it is imperative we bring to your attention prior to the March 2019 wrap up of the boundary review process. We are asking that this is a fair process and that our town is actually given a chance to weigh in. I have included the Board of Trustees as this information is important for them to know as I am assuming they will be voting on the plan put forward.

We have concerns with a March 2019 due date. The first being that around January 21st, 2019 the teacher critical timeline will start. Enrollment and classrooms will begin to be looked at. In February 2019 teachers will be submitting their teacher assignment request forms. Once these are submitted the teacher’s union will not support teachers being displaced from their assignments. Therefore, a March 2019 decision does not create a fair and equitable chance for our community to weigh in on plan and have the ability actually make a change.

Through the upcoming community meetings, we expect to be able to share the possible outcomes with our affected union groups. We will work with our union groups, as we always do, to ensure that teachers are placed fairly and appropriately.

Which departments are answering questions?

All questions are answered by the various departments that oversee the area that the question is related to. This includes:

  • Communications and Community Engagement
  • Facilities Management
  • Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Service
  • Human Resources
  • Mental Health
  • Pre-K Early Years

What are the time lines for this boundary review and how this will be a fair process given the critical timelines occurring before March 2019?

The process being undertaken is not a boundary review, but a temporary accommodation based on the boundary review process.

The timeline follows the letter that was sent home with students and posted on the school website on January 8. The letter outlines that the advisory panel will meet on:

·         Tuesday, January 15, 2019

·         Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Both meetings are at 6 p.m. at Bellmoore Elementary Schools. These meetings are open to the public to attend and observe.

The advisory panel will also hold a public meeting on:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Bellmoore Elementary School
6 p.m.

This public meeting provides opportunity for public input of the temporary accommodation strategy.

This committee will provide advice on the option that will then be presented to the Board of Trustees no later than March 2019.

Communication

What form of communication will the Board be utilizing going forward regarding this matter?

All communication about the Temporary Accommodation can be found on this page.

Who was in charge of the phone message announcement that our children heard before we did?

Our Communications and Community Engagement Department supports us with communication to the community.

This was an unintentional error on our part. Our intention was not for students to find out before the parents. When we send home messages through our telephone service, we try to set the timing of the phone calls for later in the evening, but also must balance ensuring that the message is delivered to all intended homes. Based on this experience, we have adjusted our delivery times for phone messages to take place later in the evening.

 

Updated on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.
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