English Montreal School Board parents weigh in on disputed school moves

English Montreal School Board parents weigh in on disputed school moves

January 10, 2019

The English Montreal School board is facing a cohabitation quandary.

Let’s start with the good news: Westmount Park Elementary School will be getting major renovations, and the board will be opening a new Francais Plus immersion program for its growing population.

But the good news means that students at Westmount Park Elementary School will have to move to either Marymount Academy International in NDG or the former St. John Bosco Elementary School in Ville Émard for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

Also, alternative schools Focus and Outreach will have to move to James Lyng High School.

For parents at Westmount Park, the board’s plan is not ideal.

“We are a very close-knit community; we don’t want to be split up,” said Sophie Antippa, chair of the Westmount Park governing board.

And that is what Antippa told EMSB commissioners at a meeting on Wednesday.

Instead, parents would like to see alternative schools Focus and Outreach at the former St. John Bosco Elementary School, and for Marymount students to vacate their building and move to James Lyng. That way, they say, Westmount Park students can completely take over Marymount.

Marymount parents don’t want to move, though, and they have concerns about taking in hundreds of Westmount Park students.

“It may have a detrimental effect on our students, so we have to approach this carefully,” said Marymount parent Patsy Smith.

The Central Parents Committee also presented its plan, which would include Westmount Park elementary students moving into James Lyng High School.

That, however, isn’t an option for Westmount Park parents, who say putting elementary school students into an adult education environment is not the best idea.

“It is a concern,” said Antippa. “The building is not adapted to young children.”

The English Montreal School Board will announce its final decision at a public meeting on January 16th.

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