For now, McBride Elementary will keep its doors open.
In order to provide proper service to children as young as kindergarten and Grade 1, and due to a $2,000,000 price tag for renovations, School District 57 (SD57) Trustee, Tim Bennett, says the board as opted to abandon the idea of combining the elementary and high schools for the time being.
“There is a need for renovations (at the high school) in the bathrooms like lowering countertops and sinks, as younger students who are significantly shorter can wash their hands or get a drink,” says Bennett, noting these are some of the more expensive renovations, but there are others, too.
“An elementary classroom needs additional storage space, it needs the removal of lockers — there is a significant amount of work,” he says.
The renovations involved with co-location are no longer required, according to Bennett, however, planned upgrades to the secondary school such as the heating and ventillation systems will go ahead as planned.
Based on current projections, the school district won’t be reviewing co-location for roughly four or five more years. The projections show the combined populations dropping below 150 students in that time, which Bennett says would prompt a review.
However, the Chair of McBride’s Parental Advisory Committee (PAC), Karen Dube, says the Village should be cautious in celebrating this “good news story,” as the school board continues to lack communication with the PAC, she says.
If the school board is basing the co-location discussion solely on student population, Dube says four or five years is inaccurate.
“We’re really excited that the board has taken a closer look at this issue and gone in the right direction (for now),” says Dube.
“We’re going to have to wait for more information before we’ll know if it’s a short-term or a long-term fix,” she says.
Though McBride doesn’t need to worry about co-location for at least a few more years, Dube says now is the time to get organized for the discussion.
“How will the community be included in the next co-location discussion?” Asks Dube. “This is a temporary reprieve from a problem that is not going away.”
It’s public knowledge that McBride’s population, and in turn its school’s, are not increasing anytime soon, according to Dube.
If co-location is put on the table any time soon, Dube is asking people from McBride, “What can we do now to put ourselves in a good place in the future?”