Penetanguishene losing hospital and now high school
Published Wednesday, June 4, 2014 7:02PM EDT
Penetanguishene has had some bad news lately: last week, the hospital announced it will close its satellite location and last night the community learned a school is closing.
The Simcoe County District School Board voted to close down Penetanguishene Secondary School in 2016 and move the students to nearby Midland Secondary School.
And with these closures go jobs, which means fewer people spending less money in the community.
At PSS, however, jobs aren't on the minds of many students. They're more concerned with having to leave a school that means so much to them.
Simcoe County District School Board Superintendent John Dance says the decision to close PSS was a tough one. But faced with declining enrollment, he says the board had no choice.
Midland Secondary is built for 1,500 students, but only has 600. PSS is built for 700 and 400 students are enrolled. By amalgamating the two schools the board will save money and be able to offer more programs to students, he says.
“There are some wonderful programs and with fewer students we haven't been able to offer them so we can hopefully change that,” he says.
Once the two schools are amalgamated two years from now, the board then plans to apply to the province to build an entirely new school on the field at MSS. But Penetanguishene Mayor Gerry Marshall calls the whole plan irresponsible.
“This is a school board and a group of trustees closing a school down on a hope and I really do mean a hope that they get funding to build a new school,” he says.
Marshall says he is exploring the town's legal options and is willing to challenge this decision in court. Meanwhile the school board says the decision is final, although they haven’t decided what will go into the building once the school is closed in 2016.