Mississauga community rallies to save ‘the best school ever’ from shutdown
MISSISSAUGA — A community is banding together to save a neighbourhood Catholic school potentially on the chopping block due to a budget shortfall.
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board is facing a $1.5 budget deficit over the next three to four years. Since schools are funded based on their enrolment numbers, the board is evaluating which schools maybe under-utilized and could be shut down.
“If we have a school that is at 50 per cent capacity, we are not getting funded for the 50 per cent of empty spaces in that classroom”, said Bruce Campbell, the board’s director of communications.
Eight schools in the East Credit District are undergoing a Pupil Accommodation Review to determine where enrolment numbers are low.
Among the eight schools, there are four with enrolment numbers below 60 per cent. Among those is St. Gregory Elementary, which means it could be shut down in June 2017.
Ten-year-old Kyle Greenman, his brother, and sister all go to St. Gregory. If the school closes it will mean moving to a new school and being separated from all their friends.
“It’s like the best school ever. I’ve been there since kindergarten and it would be really hard to move schools”, Kyle told Global News.
The community is banding together to save the school. Parents have started a neighbourhood petition, a Facebook page, along with lawn signs saying “SAVE St. Gregory.”
St. Gregory is the only Catholic school in the neighbourhood, and parents say without it, their Catholic presence will diminish.
“Anybody new coming to the neighbourhood would have literally zero catholic presence with no school to send their kids to potentially,” said Erin Ljubanovic, one of the parents behind the campaign.
Parents say they understand the funding issue, so they are reaching out to members of the community who may be interested in investing in space at the school during the day. The extra money would help make up the shortfall from low enrolment numbers.
Board trustees are expected to issue their decisions on any closures on May 24.
© 2016 Shaw Media