John Paul II High School to close

Jennifer’s school is now all but certain to close at the end of this year.

Last night, the WQSB’s planning review committee tabled its recommendations for school realignment. It has recommended that the high-school portion of the combined St. John’s/John Paul II school close, with its students moving to Pontiac High School for the 2006-2007 school year. (And, almost certainly, its teachers — so don’t worry about Jennifer’s employment.)

The elementary side will remain open, and no school boundaries will be put into place. Adult education, currently at PHS, will eventually move into the JPII building, but not immediately.

Formally, the council of commissioners must approve this decision at its meeting on the 27th, but, especially since the committee is a committee of the whole (i.e., the entire board acting as a committee), it’s extremely unlikely that this recommendation will not be followed.

You can bet that a lot of people aren’t happy about this. Chances are, though, this will work out for the best: the 80 or so kids from JPII will certainly face culture shock when they arrive in Shawville this fall, but they’ll have far more opportunities and resources at their disposal; PHS, due to its larger student population, is simply better equipped. The kids will be better off, though they won’t necessarily agree for a while. It’s a pity that so much of the debate over JPII’s closure has focused on what the school means to the community that their kids’ education — many of them are in high-needs, at-risk situations that would overwhelm a small school’s resources (JPII is so small it doesn’t even qualify for a guidance counsellor) — got lost in the shuffle.