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Friday, February 19, 2016

Stayner Schools Discussed

Stayner | by Catherine Thompson  

80 people turn out for first ARC meeting over Byng, Stayner Collegiate.

Large crowd attends first ARC meeting about schools in Stayner. (photo by Catherine Thompson) 

Parents in Stayner have shown how passionate they are about their school community.

Around 70 to 80 people turned out for the Accommodation Review Committee's first public meeting at Byng Public School in Stayner on Thursday night. 

A total of 17 different people took to the microphone and some became tearful when talking about SCI and Byng.

The preferred option the ARC committee is considering is to close Byng and have its students join those at Clearview Meadows, the only other elementary school in Stayner. Clearview Meadows would become a Kindergarten to grade six school.

The high school in town, Stayner Collegiate Institute, would become a school for grades 7 to 12.

Wasaga Beach parent Natalie Kopacz was one of the speakers who got emotional saying she came to the meeting to ask that the borders be changed so that her daughter can go to SCI without needing to get special permission. 

She says she had to do just that to have her son transferred from Collingwood Collegiate Institute to SCI because he was having a hard time and is doing much better in the smaller high school in Stayner.

Other concerns expressed by the public at this meeting were closing Byng which was built in 1922 and many feel is important to the community and keeping high school students in Stayner by offering more programming. 

There were also fears expressed about the transition of grade 7 and 8 students into a school with older teenagers and also the transition of younger kids from Byng to Clearview Meadows.

Superintendent of Facility Services with the Simcoe Muskoka District School Board, John Dance, says all concerns will be discussed among members of the Accommodation Review Committee. He says kids are more resilient in these types of situations than adults typically are.

The plan is to ask the Ministry of Education for 10 million dollars for an addition to Clearview Meadows and an expansion of Stayner Collegiate Institute.

There are two more public meetings, on March 10th and April 20th,  with the public school board making a decision at a special meeting on June 9th. 



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