Two High Schools are Closing in Burlington

A pair of Burlington high schools - Lester B. Pearson and Robert Bateman - are closing following a vote by public school board trustees.

Halton District School Board trustees voted to close the doors permanently at both facilities; Pearson is projected to close on June 30, 2018, while Bateman is slated to shutter its doors on June 30, 2020.

The decision was made at the June 7 meeting, following an eight-month process.

Trustees were voting on recommendations in Report 17075, under Burlington’s secondary Program Accommodation Review (PAR).

The move comes following protests at the school board office on Guelph Line and opposition from politicians such as Ward 4 Coun. Jack Dennison.

Closing Pearson “certainly does not make sense to me,” reads a letter sent to residents from Dennison dated March 3.

Dennison goes on to say Pearson “is a small school where everyone knows your name, who you are and where you should be. The administration team, teachers and parents all care.”

An online petition with more than 1,300 supporters was being circulated to support keeping Pearson open.

The HDSB maintains Burlington has a surplus of high schools and not enough incoming students to fill them, meaning they’re under capacity.

Dennison says despite the city’s high percentage of seniors, many are downsizing, making way for young families.

Regardless, north-end Pearson students are going to be sent to M.M. Robinson High School, while their south side Bateman peers will be heading to Nelson High School.

Students with special needs can attend schools closer to home, according to the board.

"I want to assure our Burlington school communities that during the next year we will focus on ensuring the transition of students, staff and programs will be positive and supportive," said HDSB director of education Stuart Miller.

"We have extensive experience integrating students and staff, and successfully moving programs in our board.”

By delaying the closure of Bateman to 2020, the implications for program changes and student moves outlined in Report 17075 have also been delayed by one year.

Here are additional notes:

  • Effective September 1, 2018, the HDSB will revise the existing catchment area for Lester B. Pearson High School to redirect students to M.M. Robinson High School.
  • Beginning September 1, 2018, the HDSB will revise the existing Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School French Immersion program boundary, to redirect students entering Grade 9 French Immersion to M.M. Robinson High School. French Immersion students in Grade 10, 11 and 12 will be grandparented at Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School until graduation.
  • Beginning September 1, 2018, the HDSB will revise the English program boundaries for Burlington Central High School to include the complete catchment area for Tecumseh Public School, redirecting Grade 9 English program students to Burlington Central High School. Grade 10, 11 and 12 English program students currently attending Nelson High School from this catchment area will be grandparented until graduation.
  • Beginning September 1, 2018, the HDSB will designate the English and French Immersion catchment areas for the "Evergreen Community" to M.M. Robinson High School. The north end community currently has no residential development.

The board says it’s providing detailed updated for everyone affected by the decisions.

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