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ARC group plays to almost-empty room


Students at Plantagenet Public School may be bussing to Rockland next term, depending on results of a pupil accommodation review for the Upper Canada school district. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

There was no lack of places to sit in the gymnasium at Rockland District High School for the second ARC public infor- mation meeting on the future of Upper Canada district schools in Prescott-Russell. Besides the ARC review committee itself and district staff interested in the process, the only other attendee at the Jan. 19meet- ing was a reporter from the Vision newspa- per. Valerie Allen, chair for the ARC Area One committee, expressed disappointment at the non-existent public turnout. “At the last publicmeeting we had parents and we had students,” Allen said, noting that more than two dozen residents from around Prescott-Russell showed up for the ARC One public session last fall. The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) set up its Pupil Accommodation Review process (ARC) to determine how to deal with declining student numbers, and the resulting decline in the amount of per pupil funding support it gets every year from the provincial government, as themajor part of its annual budget. Throughout the entire Upper Canada district, the UCDSB faces a 10,000-person drop in its overall student population. That means less money for the district from the province for some UCDSB schools, which may be operating well under their capacity yet still requiring electricity, heating, and other services and supplies to remain open. There are ARC groups for all of the UCDSB neighbourhood school regions. ARC One deals with the Prescott-Russell group of schools. A preliminary report for ARC One sug- gests closing Plantagenet Public School and relocating its student population to Rockland Public School at the start of the 2017-2018 term.The report also suggests the UCDSB look at closing Glengarry District High School at an unspecified future date, and consolidating its student population with Vankleek Hill Collegiate and other neighbouring schools. The UCDSB is still accepting feedback fromparents on all the neighbourhood ARC draft reports. Parents, students, and those interested in district schools can provide feedback through the online survey. Those reports are available through a link at the district website at The final ARC reports are due in mid- February and the UCDSB trustees will make their decision on all the recommendations at their March 23 session.


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