DSBN Begins Review of West Niagara Secondary Schools

Senior Staff at the District School Board of Niagara are recommending the Board build a brand new high school for students in the West Niagara area. On Tuesday evening, the Board of Trustees received the recommendation as part of the Senior Staff report for the newly initiated West Niagara Secondary Accommodation Review. 

As per DSBN policy, Senior Staff are required to place a recommendation before the Board prior to the beginning of an Accommodation Review. “This is the beginning of a thorough process to examine secondary education in West Niagara. Public feedback will be an integral part of the review and Trustees will make a decision in the best interest of students,” said Warren Hoshizaki, DSBN Director of Education. The Board may elect to adopt all, some of none of the recommendations presented in the report. 

The review includes Beamsville District, Grimsby Secondary and South Lincoln High School. The review was deemed necessary due to falling enrolment in the area, which has a negative impact on schools’ abilities to provide a wide range of programming to meet the needs of today’s students. Over the past five years, enrolment in the West Niagara area has fallen nearly 30%. This is a decline of more than 600 students which has left all three schools well-below capacity. Ten-year projections show that enrolment is unlikely to rebound.

Additionally, all three schools are projected to require significant renewal work. In the period between 2016-2020, BDSS will need over $26 million in renewal, Grimsby will require over $19 million and South Lincoln over $7 million worth of upgrades and repairs. 

According to the option proposed by Senior Staff, South Lincoln High School would close as of June 30, 2017. Students would be redirected according to their location and program. The Board would then begin the process of locating a property and building a new high school for students in the area. Beamsville District and Grimsby Secondary would close on June 30, 2020, with the new school opening its doors in September, 2020. 

The process will begin with the Accommodation Review Committee’s first meeting on November 3. There will be three meetings to receive public input, on November 10, December 15 and January 26. The Accommodation Review Committee’s role will be to provide feedback on the Senior Staff report. The committee may also elect to propose alternate solutions. All feedback will be included in the Final Senior Staff Report, which will be presented to the Board in February. A final decision is expected at the March 28, 2017 Board meeting. 

The public is encouraged to become involved. All reports, minutes and agendas, as well as meeting dates will be posted to DSBN.org/arc.