Thursday marked the third of four nights of public consultations on the fates of a series of English schools in Montreal.

The English Montreal School Board will vote on the closures and mergers in early January, but not before students and parents have their say.

On Wednesday, St. Gabriel, St. John Bosco Elementary, and James Lyng High School were up for discussion. All three are facing closure.

Parents from St. Gabriel elementary in Point St. Charles said they want their school to stay where it is.

"We have an exceptional facility that's been built and structured, and well thought out to service our children," said Kelly Steczko, a member of the school's governing board.

Parents from St. Gabriel spent the evening mixed with parents from St. John Bosco in neighbouring Ville Emard.

The schools are set to merge, but which one will close has yet to be determined. Some say the issue is driving a wedge through the community.

"Our students have smart boards and everything in their classrooms," said St. John Bosco parent Kim Geraldi.

James Lyng High School in St. Henri might also be forced to close and merge with neighbouring Marymount. While enrolment has been dwindling over the past few years, it also has among the most at-risk students in Montreal.

"I'm afraid some kids will drop out, because this is their community school this is their second home," said James Lyng guidance counselor Sue Meyer. "They're going to feel it's been taken away from them and that's sad."

EMSB Commissioner Julien Feldman agreed it's important to keep at-risk teens close to home.

"I think we need to serve our communities, particularly when it comes to inner-city schools. I don't think it's in the best interest of our children to be bused far away," he said.

The final round of meetings takes place Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Laurence Patterson conference room at 6000 Fielding Ave. when the following schools and committees are up for discussion.

Thursday, Dec. 8
Advisory Committee on Special Education Services
Central Parents' Committee
Fraser Academy (closure)
Westmount Park district boundary