What is a Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR)?
A Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) is a community consultation process required by the Ministry of Education where a school closure and/or consolidation is being considered to address changing demographics, enrolment, programming, and facility condition challenges facing a school or schools in a particular area under review. Pupil Accommodation Reviews are governed by prescribed Ministry timelines and follow a Board approved policy and process.
What does the Pupil Accommodation Review process entail?
The Pupil Accommodation Review process is outlined in the Board’s Pupil Accommodation Review of Schools policy (#713). The policy identifies two different review options: a “standard” Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) and a modified Pupil Accommodation Review (MPAR). Both types of reviews focus on notification and public consultation on the Board’s pupil accommodation plans for a specific community. Both processes include a number of common requirements however there are a few key differences which are outlined in the chart below:
“Standard” Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR)
- The entire process must run for a minimum of five (5) months
- A minimum of two (2) public meetings are required
- The formation of a Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) is required
Modified Pupil Accommodation Review (MPAR)
- The entire process must run for a minimum of three (3) months
- Only one (1) public meeting is required
- Does not require a Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARC)
When would a modified Pupil Accommodation Review (MPAR) process be used?
An MPAR process could be selected for a particular review area if Board thinks the potential accommodation options are less complex. An MPAR may be approved and initiated by the Board where two (2) or more of the following factors are present:
- Distance to the nearest available accommodation is 5 kilometres or less;
- Utilization rate of the facility is equal or below 50%;
- Number of students enrolled at the school is 126 or fewer;
- When the Board is planning the relocation of a program (in any school year or over a number of school years), in which the enrolment constitutes more than or equal to fifty percent (50%) of the school’s enrolment (this calculation is based on the enrolment at the time of the relocation, or the first phase of a relocation carried over a number of schools years);
- There are no more than three (3) schools subject to the Pupil Accommodation Review process; or,
- The entire student population (and boundary) of a school that is subject to a Pupil Accommodation Review process can be accommodated in another school.
How are schools in a particular area selected for a Pupil Accommodation Review?
Enrolment is monitored and reported to the Board on an annual basis. An area becomes a focus if there are schools that have an enrolment below 60 per cent of the Ministry of Education’s “on-the-ground” (OTG) capacity (the rated student capacity for a facility) and if the ten year enrolment projections indicate a decline with no anticipated future growth. The focus becomes narrowed to a group of two or more schools based on their enrolment projection or their potential to assist in finding an alternative accommodation solution. More detailed information such as enrolment projections for each area and school information profiles can be found on the Board website.
What is a Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARC)?
The PARC is a component of the “standard” Pupil Accommodation Review process. It is an advisory committee, established by the Board that represents the affected school(s) of a Pupil Accommodation Review. The PARC provides feedback to the School Board on proposed accommodation options for a school or group of schools in a particular area and the impact on the local school community.
What is the role of the PARC?
The PARC acts as a channel for sharing information between the School Board and the affected school communities under review. The PARC holds a number of working meetings to discuss Board Administration’s Initial Report (Report 1), the proposed accommodation options and to provide input and consultation feedback.
How is membership on the PARC determined?
As per the Board’s Pupil Accommodation Review – Policy #713, membership of the PARC will include:
- A Chair(s) (appointed by the Director of Education)
- At least one parent/guardian representative from each of the schools under review chosen by their community
- Other persons as appointed by the Director of Education (i.e. Board Senior Administration)
Has a decision already been made?
No. A decision has not been made. Board Senior Administration has simply identified a preferred accommodation option based on current and available information to address accommodation pressures in a particular review area. The Board of Trustees will make a final decision following community consultation which is a part of the Pupil Accommodation Review process.
Does a Pupil Accommodation Review mean my child’s school will close?
Not necessarily. The Board’s approval of the Initial Staff Report (Report 1) starts a community consultation process. During that process, parents/guardians and community members will have opportunities to provide input and feedback on the proposed accommodation option for the review area. Public feedback and input will be summarized and included in the Final Staff Report (Report 3) to the Board of Trustees for consideration and they will make the final a decision.
What will happen to the property if a school is approved to close?
In the event the Board does decide to close a school in a review area, and the school is not required by the Board, it may dispose of the property through a process governed by the Province of Ontario. This process gives priority to other public agencies, including other school boards, the municipality, and the region prior to the site being offered on the open market. If the site is to be used for a purpose other than a school, a municipal process would be required, which includes additional public consultation facilitated by the City.
How will the Board communicate information and updates?
The Pupil Accommodation Review section on the Board website (www.ycdsb.ca/par) will be an important source of information and will have the latest updates on Pupil Accommodation Reviews including public meeting and delegation dates, meeting minutes, etc… Up to date information will also be shared via Twitter at @YcdsbOurSchools, on school websites and newsletters, email and phone messages, letters and advertising in local newspapers.
How can I get involved in the review process?
Public consultation is a key component of the Pupil Accommodation Review process. The Board encourages all parents and community members to attend public meeting(s) to learn about the process, to stay informed, to ask questions and to provide input/feedback. There will also be opportunities to participate in delegations to the Board during the review process. The public meeting and delegation dates will be shared with the community in advance through a range of media including the accommodation review twitter account (@YcdsbOurSchools) and posted on the Pupil Accommodation Review section of the Board website at www.ycdsb.ca/par.
Who makes the final decision in the Pupil Accommodation Review process?
The final decision regarding pupil accommodations rests with the Board of Trustees of the York Catholic District School Board. The Board makes a decision after a review of the Final Staff Report (Report 3) which contains feedback from the Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (if a “standard” process was used), community consultation, and public delegations.
If a decision is made to close or consolidate a school, how quickly will it happen?
If a decision is made on or before February 28 to close a school, the school would close in September of the same year. EXAMPLE: If a decision is made by Trustees in February 2017 to close a school, the school would close September 2017.
If a decision is made to close a school after March 1, the school would be closed the following school year. EXAMPLE: If a decision is made by Trustees between March – June 2017 to close a school, the school would close in September 2018.
If a decision is made to close a school, a Transition Planning Committee that would include Board and school staff, parents and students (where possible) would be established and a very thorough and collaborative transition plan would be put into place to ensure a smooth transition for students and staff.
If I have concerns about the outcome of a Pupil Accommodation Review once it is completed, what can I do?
A community is able to request an Administrative Review from the Ministry of Education of the Pupil Accommodation Review process, however it is not a review of the Board decision but whether the Board complied with its Pupil Accommodation Review policy. There are three steps involved to request an Administrative Review:
- Submit a copy of the Board’s policy highlighting how the process did not comply
- Submit a petition signed by supporters equal to at least 30% of the affected school’s headcount (i.e. for 90 student enrolment = 27 signatures)
- Submit the petition along with a letter to the Minister of Education specifying how the Board did not follow its Pupil Accommodation Review policy.
Visit the Ministry of Education website for more detailed information on the Ministry’s Administrative Review process
How can I find out more information about the Board’s Pupil Accommodation Review process, policy and procedures?
For more information throughout the Pupil Accommodation Review process, visit the Board website at www.ycdsb.ca/par. You can also follow the Board’s Accommodation Review Twitter account at @YcdsbOurSchools for updates, send an email via the Contact Us tab on the PAR section of the Board website or visit your child’s school website.