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Hub Staff

Grade 7 and 8 students from Northport Elementary School and École Port Elgin-Saugeen Central School (ÉPESCS) may be accommodated at Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS) beginning September 2019.

This recommendation was proposed at the Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) Business Committee-of-the-Whole on October 2 by the enrolment planning and program revision staff.

With population rising in the area, the Board is grappling to find the best way to position the student population appropriately to maximize resources and support student success. This proposal would see Northport and ÉPESCS become JK to 6 schools and SDSS become a Grade 7 to 12 school.

Many factors under consideration were changes to boundaries, bussing, portable placements and all related costs. Housing the 7 and 8 students at the high school is the most feasible option as determined by the program revision reports for both Port Elgin and Kincardine schools where both communities are experiencing rapid growth.

The elementary schools in Port Elgin are currently overcapacity at 107%, whereas the high school is only at 63% capacity. This equates to 10 classrooms that are currently unused at SDSS. This extra space could accommodate the Grade 7 and 8 students from Northport and ÉPESCS over the coming years.

Updates to the west wing of SDSS would require investment and improvements. In addition, site changes would be made to create a separate play space for the Grade 7 and 8 students. Presently $2 million is earmarked for renewal work at SDSS.

This proposal is a short-term plan to manage capacity constraints and expected enrollment over the next few years. Bluewater staff are examining a long-term plan that could include expansion of existing elementary schools or possibly an additional school.

Public information sessions are expected in Port Elgin soon. Community input may be directed to peprogramreview@bwdsb.on.ca.

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