Parents sound off over potential closure of Beurling Academy in Verdun
Published Thursday, October 10, 2019 12:33PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, October 10, 2019 12:40PM EDT
Parents and students of Beurling Academy were asking questions to the Lester B. Pearson School Board at a town hall meeting Wednesday night.
The school's future is in danger, and many don't want to see students transferred to LaSalle Community Comprehensive High school next year.
Beurling Academy is the only English high school left in Verdun, but due to declining enrolment, it is listed as part of the Lester B. Pearson's major school change proposals.
In 2009, the school was at full capacity with more than 700 students; it now has only slightly more than 300 students.
Many at the town hall argued in defence of the school, pointing to Beurling's successes despite declining numbers. Some also pointed to another nearby school, Riverview Elementary, which had low enrolment but was saved – and the school population has bounced back.
Parents of students at Beurling Academy also fear that closing the high school could have a ripple effect and prompt some families to move out of the neighbourhood altogether.
"This, to me, is very sad. I've seen the erosion of our English institutions since 1976. Verdun is not the only municipality or borough that experiences that, but there has to be some other solution than to lose a community school," said Mary Anne Fyckes, a former LBPSB employee.
Beurling is not the only school being looked at by the board.
St. Thomas High School in Pointe-Claire is also being considered for a merge with Lindsay Place High, a school that is under-occupied.
Lakeside Academy and Place Cartier Adult Education Centre were also identified as potentially having to share space or be relocated.
So far, no decisions have been made, said Lester B. Pearson School Board Chair Noel Burke, who said the board welcomes alternative suggestions.
The board plans to hand down a decision in December or January with any changes being implemented in Sept. 2020.