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CDN-NDG Borough wants to keep Royal Vale HS
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 3 novembre 2011

File photo

Royal Vale High School

Loyola District councillor Susan Clarke is spearheading a resolution opposing the move of Royal Vale High School in NDG to a centre for special needs students in Côte Saint-Luc. The motion will be tabled at the next CDN-NDG borough council meeting on Nov. 7.

The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) has a detailed consultation protocol that requires it to consult with municipal authorities about any proposed changes to the school map. But Clarke said that so far the documents provided by the EMSB don’t present any compelling reason why Royal Vale HS should be split from its elementary counterpart, much less moved to Côte Saint-Luc. “The two function well as one entity,” she said. So, there is no clear rationale for moving Royal Vale High’s students into the Palatucci Centre, formerly known as Wager High School.

The talk is that some parents are fearing that the influx of displaced students from NDG might even cause problems for their special needs kids who are happy at the centre. And according to Linda Perez, Chairman of the Central Parents’ Committee, no one in NDG wants this move: not the parents, not the commissioners, and certainly not the students. And although the parents’ committee hasn’t looked at formal briefs yet – they won’t be available before Nov. 10 when the EMSB’s hearings on proposed changes to the board begin – the committee has had informal talks with parents at Royal Vale.

Clarke was a school commissioner for ten years with the EMSB as well as its predecessor the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. She said that she had been approached by school board commissioners and parents alike because of the impact on NDG students. Her own children also went to Royal Vale HS, making it a natural for her to get involved.

Royal Vale is known as a K-11 alternative school. It provides a French Immersion program, plus other value-added features from kindergarten to graduation. Clarke lobbied for just exactly this kind of school back in the day as an activist parent. So, she’s taking this issue to heart.

One of the problems with the proposed location is that the new school won’t be very accessible for NDG parents or their children, seeing as the centre is considerably north of NDG, near Cavendish Mall.

Clarke also said that she had received an e-mail from a parent who wished to remain anonymous about a whisper campaign that the special needs population might even be pushed out if Royal Vale HS came on board.

In any event, the City of Côte Saint-Luc has hosted a series of open houses to try and muster support for a high school in the area. But, owing to a lack of interest, the sign-up sheets haven’t been filling up. Now, rumours have it that this may be the city’s Plan B to bring a high school onto its territory.

Be that as it may, the final verdict won’t be in until January 2012 when the EMSB makes its decision about how it will redraw the school map. In the meantime, the CDN/NDG Borough Council will be submitting a memorandum addressing the proposal to move Royal Vale. And if Clarke has her way, it won’t be going anywhere.

[ Marie Cicchini ]


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