The Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board is considering closing three elementary schools in the Tecumseh district.
The schools include St. Gregory, St. Pius X, and St. Peter. The reason for the closure of these three schools is their enrollment rates are down. Currently at St. Gregory elementary school there is a 75 per cent enrollment rate and an 85 per cent enrollment rate is needed for the government funding. The reasons for the enrollment drop is parents are sending their kids to the newer school in the area Tecumseh Vista Academy.
Tecumseh Vista Academy opened in September 2011 and serves grades junior kindergarten to grade twelve. Vista is more technologically advanced school and is bigger school in general. St. Gregory, St. Puis X and St. Peter’s are all smaller schools that have been around for years and are in need of repairs.
Also St. Gregory is one of the only schools to not have an everyday full day JK/SK program which does not appeal to a lot of parents, since they have full time jobs everyday.
If the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board decides to close these schools the results of the closures will be one of the following: St. Gregory will close completely and all those children will go to St. Pius X. But if that does happen they will need to add additions onto St. Pius X to cope with all the new students.
“I specifically sent my children to St. Gregory so they would be in a small school and could feel comfortable with the atmosphere from a young age” said Celina Sarweh a stay at home mother with six children.
“I built my home in this area because it is around the schools, this way my kids don’t have to take a long bus ride to school” said Julie Butler another mother of six children.
Some parents are upset by what is going on with the schools, that they have held parent council meetings. Anyone is welcome to come to these meetings held at St. Gregory school where they discuss the issue and what is going to happen. Also ways to prevent it from happening.
At the meeting it was discussed that D.M Eagle and Victoria public school are going to be closing. Since they are both in the Tecumseh district the three catholic grade schools are thinking that the children from those schools will bring the enrollment rate up in the new year.
“At the meeting they were giving out free signs that say “Save our school” on them to put on your lawn” said Sarweh.
Also St. Gregory has a church right next to the school which allows the kids to have access to church once a month. The church owns the parking lot in front of the school and they allow staff and parents to use their parking lot for the school.
But, the church is being sold and when it does the school will no longer have access to the parking lot and will lose their monthly church visits if another religion were to buy the church. Which can be unappealing to people of a Catholic religion.
“Hopefully the school stays and my children can continue to go to St. Gregory’s” said Sarweh.