Answers Here

1. Question: I am wondering if the Board physically visits schools and re-evaluated the load per room and the overall OTG of a school. If so how often does this happen.

Response: The On-The-Ground (OTG) capacity of a facility reflects all available permanent teaching space for various instructional purposes within a school building and is calculated by the Ministry of Education based on established Ministry classroom standards. 

Changes in OTG typically occur as a result of additions and renovations or a significant change in instructional use for a classroom space. All school boards track and report physical and instructional use changes to the Ministry on an annual basis.

 2. Question: In the application for funding, why did Senior Admin decline the opportunity to include the new Belmont school in the modular pilot project?

Response: TVDSB Administration supports the Ministry’s modular pilot project initiative and has indicated an interest in using modular construction techniques for facility additions. However, in consultation with industry professionals, it was determined that there remains too much uncertainty at this time to proceed with full school facility construction using modular construction techniques. Administration will continue to monitor developments and consider the use of modular construction in future projects. 

 3. Question: We know from the EPAR-01 that empty pupil spaces cost the TVDSB money.  The FSAR stated, “The operational costs to maintain, clean and heat these spaces are not funded by the province. Currently this operational funding shortfall is being subsidized by the system as a whole, resulting in fully-occupied classrooms being under allocated in funds and the dilution of resources. This financial burden will increase over time due to enrolment decline".

On average, how much does one empty pupil space cost the board?  I realize there may be a lot of variables in this, but wondering if there is an approximate figure administration uses in this regard?

Response: You are correct that there is a cost to maintaining empty pupil places across the school system. As the Board is funded on a per-student basis, the maintenance of empty pupil places must be subsidized by the system as a whole. 

The Board does not calculate or approximate “the cost of one empty pupil place” due to the variability of costs across the school district and the number of assumptions to be considered.

4. Comment: We strongly believe that closing the schools that are being spoken of would just create overcrowding in other schools. That just creates Kaos chaos and more problems and more stress on students and teachers. The students deserve better than this!

5. Question: Will the current proposed boundaries for the new southeast school change to accommodate the current growth in student population in the neighbourhood? We currently fall within the boundaries for the new school but we are literally a street away from Mitchell Hepburn so the new school would be much further away from us which doesn't make sense. With all the new houses that have been built since, shouldn't the boundaries be revised and no longer include those residing north of Southgate? (Ex. Blairmont Terrace)

Response: The current motions before the Board to reconsider closure of Springfield PS and New Sarum PS do not include any changes to the Board-approved attendance areas for the schools included in EPAR01 adopted by Trustees on May 23, 2017. A map of those attendance areas may be found at this link:

6. Question: What is the French immersion plan for rural schools, we do not have a local or reasonable commute option in this area. Will any new school have a French immersion stream offered?

Response: The current Board motions to reconsider closure of Springfield PS and New Sarum PS do not include any changes of French Immersion programming.

 On September 26, 2017, the Board authorized Senior Administration to conduct an Attendance Area Review for the Elementary French Immersion program serving Elgin County. The results of that review may be found at this link:

 7. Comment: In respects to the closures of Springfield and New Sarum. Consider Lambeth Public School as your warning. Closed two schools and created one super school, now the school is exploding, many portables and all the new subdivisions keep growing and growing. The same things will happen if you close these schools to create some super school. Houses will keep coming. Lambeth needs another school now; reopen McEachren. 

 8. Comment: My wife and I both love New Sarum for our son and look forward to it for our other young kids. We request it be allowed to stay open.

 9. Comment: The motions to close New Sarum and Springfield were put into place when St. Thomas was told or thought they were getting a new school. Now that we’re not getting said school, it only seems to make sense that we wouldn’t be able to close those two schools. Guidelines and boundaries also need to be reassessed. I can say with certainty that if Kettle Creek grows to an unimaginable size much like Mitchell Hepburn and we end up getting upwards of 13 portables, I’ll be looking for alternate resources for schooling my child so that they don’t end up ‘getting lost in the system’. 

10. Question: Why does the OTG for Mitchell Hepburn change from 678 to 757 in the chart on Page 92 of the report document?

Based on the charts on Page 92, can you confirm that the following is accurate: If Mitchell Hepburn remains status quo, by 2028-29 they will have 114 empty pupil spaces? (this is based on OTG of 678 being accurate) and there will be approximately 330 students in the holding zone at Kettle Creek?

If the above is accurate based on the charts shown on page 92, is it fair to say that by around 2030, all students in the SE St. Thomas area could be accommodated in empty pupil spaces at Elgin Court (64 empty pupil spaces), Forest Park (196 empty pupil spaces) and Mitchell Hepburn (114 empty pupil spaces) for a total of 374 empty pupil spaces?

Response: The OTG capacity of 757 pupil places noted for Mitchell Hepburn PS on the chart on Page 92 (Appendix B2 to the 2019 –- 2020 Capital Priorities Program Business Case submission for Southeast St. Thomas) was made in error and should be revised to indicate the school’s current OTG capacity of 678 pupil places.

If Mitchell Hepburn PS remains status quo – with the holding zone in Southeast St. Thomas maintained and no changes to the existing attendance area – enrolment is projected to reach 692 pupils in the 2028-2029 school year.  Correction: projected enrolment should be 564

Projected enrolment in the southeast St. Thomas holding zone is expected to be reach approximately 330 pupils by the 2028-2029 school year. 

The 2019-2020 Capital Priorities Program submission was drafted on the basis of the Board-approved motions related to EPAR-01. Determining whether all students from the southeast St. Thomas holding zone could be accommodated at schools within St. Thomas would require consideration of a number of variables – such as geographic distribution of students, enrolment projections, and the need for Area Accommodation Reviews.

11. Comment: Overcapacity resolution for Kettle Creek needs to happen in 2020.

12. Comment: I wanted to state how frustrating I was moving to st Thomas in the new sub division. Moved one street away from Mitchell Hepburn public school, we were so happy because where we lived before we had a walking distance school. We strictly bought in the new subdivision to be in walking distance to a school. We went to register my child in August for September school year to find out it’s not his school. The bus ride is 35min from our house to kettle creek and my child is so stressed out more than ever. He’s so tired and feels sick in the long bus ride. My youngest will have to go next year to kettle creek and he has speech delay and can’t communicate nearly as much as I would like. For them to be so far from home when we are in walking distant is beyond frustrating. WE NEED A SCHOOL IN THE NEW SUBDIVISION!!!

13. Comment: After reviewing information regarding the “holding zone” that will be extended into 2028 when originally proposed to end in 2020, I wanted to express my sadness and disappointment. I cannot understand how busing our small children over 45min into literally another town could be thought as a reasonable solution. Doubling the capacity of a small school is not the answer especially after investing such a huge amount of money to rehabilitate the school, yet it still not having the appropriate size to accommodate the extra children. Please I ask that the boundaries and zoning be reconsidered and keep these children close to their homes where they may spend less time in transportation and more time with family.

14. Comment: Families would prefer their children be schooled locally not bussed to larger schools outside their community. There is substantial growth in Elgin County and the population is going to increase rapidly according to development and projection. It is inappropriate to continually uproot children and close schools. Rural families want schools in their community. It may be beneficial for the school board to start thinking outside the box when planning. This will be the key to success, enrollment and trust. Southwold will be another school that will be of concern as the district is slated for over 400 new homes in Talbotville alone. Planning processes need to change so the board is ready instead of shifting children and ordering portables. It is very appreciated to have a public forum appropriate for these concerns/comments. Thank you.



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