Penetanguishene mayor fights to keep high school open
Penetanguishene Secondary School is set to close in 2016, but the town’s mayor is trying to stop that from happening.
Mayor Gerry Marshall has joined forces with 20 other small town mayors from across the province to try and convince the Ontario government to take another look at how the accommodation review process works and why schools should be considered community hubs.
“The ministries rent all kinds of properties for many different purposes, bring those groups together under one roof and that allows you to keep your school open and serve the community in other ways,” said Marshall.
The Simcoe County District School Board decided in June to close Penetanguishene Secondary School and move the students to nearby Midland Secondary following an accommodation review.
Midland Secondary is built for 1,500 students, but only has 600. PSS is built for 700 and 400 students are enrolled. 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.
There are about 600 schools across Ontario are currently operating at about half capacity.
Marshall met with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing earlier this summer and is hopeful some of those schools can be saved along with PSS.
“I think we have a premier and a minister very much engaged and supportive, so I think it’s very hopeful we can make some positive change and keep PSS open,” said Marshall.
The alliance of mayors plan to meet with the province in November following the next municipal election.