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Counties and province dicker over Alfred College


for the college could be at least double the original estimate now, since the university has renounced all claims to the college as part of its own budgetary downsizing efforts. What council would like is for the pro- vince to turn over ownership of the college grounds at no cost to the UCPR and then let the counties figure out a profitable use for the property. One suggestion fromWarden Guy Desjar- dins, who sits on counties council as mayor for the City of Clarence-Rockland, is that the counties could partner with the South Nation Conservation Authority (SNC) on a tree plantation operation on the site. «There’s already a maple tree plantation there,» Desjardins said during a later inter- view, adding that the first thing is to get the province to turn over the property to the counties, if they will agree to that. WardenDesjardins emphasized that the UCPRwill not consider any suggestions from the province that the counties purchase the college. «I have no plans on buying the land,» he said, adding that the province should turn over the college site to either the counties or to Alfred-Plantagenet Township without charge. «And we would ask them to also demolish the buildings that aren’t in good condition.» Any further decision from counties council on the future for the college will wait until UCPR administration presents its report. of graduates from the school, compared to the Ontario average. The rankings often come under fire from school districts who claim that the Fraser Institute does not consider student socializa- tion, community involvement and other fac- tors. Gartland explained how the evaluations are short-sighted and fail to consider items of equal importance for students besides their formal curriculum. “We know that ranking schools invites simplistic comparisons and can lead to making judgements about the quality of a school based on a single indicator,” Gart- land stated. “Judgments of school quality should be based on the complete picture of all programs and features of a school. Pro- file of the school community, needs of the students, support of parents, and availability of resources are just some of the factors that contribute to student achievement.” Gartland indicated that the Fraser Ins- titute needs to look beyond the official ministry data files when doing its rank eva- luations of schools, both elementary and secondary. “We believe that additional data sources should be considered to gain insight into the full context of the school learning commu- nity,” he stated. “Demographic information is one impor- tant factor, as are other sources of data gene- rated at the school level.These pieces of in- formation, combined with local knowledge, allow school staff to focus on how to help students learn to the best of their ability, based on individual needs, by giving learners the necessary supports to demonstrate the expectations in the curriculum.”

The future of Alfred College, or at least the buildings and grounds, may become a Let’s Make a Deal scenario between the provin- cial government and the United Counties of Prescott-Russell. Counties council has given administra- La maison du store Vous voulez rénover votre cuisine ou votre salle de bain? 3433, chemin Gendron, Hammond ON Service de décoratrice certifiée Venez nous visiter pour voir nos échantillons 613-850-5744 •Comptoirs • Dosserets •Poignées • Teinture


tion a directive to put together a short brief with recommendations for its next regular session inMarch. The focus of the brief will be possible uses for the land and buildings on the campus in Alfred besides their current status as an agricultural college site. «What do we do with it?» said Mayor Jeanne Charlebois of Hawkesbury. «That’s the question.» The province has asked for a proposal from the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) to continue operating Alfred College as an agricultural instruction institute, but all of themayors sitting on counties council are

nervous about that scenario.Their concern is that Queen’s Park will download a big financial «white elephant» onto the counties given the amount of aging infrastructures on the college campus grounds. The latest provincial government site ins- pection report done in 2009, when the Uni- versity of Guelph was still operating Alfred College as one of its regional campuses, noted the buildings were in need of upgra- ding at an estimated cost of $6.5 million, given renovation values at the time. Little or nothing has happened since then and counties council fears the refurbishing cost

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Education director dismisses Fraser report

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The director of education for one of Eastern Ontario’s largest school districts has dis- missed a conservative think tank’s annual report card, ranking Ontario’s high schools. William J. Gartland, education director for the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO), thinks that the Fraser Institute’s annual evaluation fails to see the “whole picture” of both education and what it means for schools to educate students and prepare them for the future. “The CDSBEO does not subscribe to the philosophy that ranking schools leads to improved student achievement,” Gartland

William J. Gartland, Director of Education, Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario —photo CDSBEO stated in a press release. “We know that real insight into school quality is too complex to capture in a single number or ranking.” The Fraser Institute, a conservative Cana- dian think tank, uses provincial education ministry data for its annual evaluations of how well schools perform and for making changes to its rankings.The statistical report cards for each school can be found on the institute’s website at https://www.fraserins-, along with a brief on how to read the report cards. This year, St. Thomas Aquinas Catho- lic High School in Russell moved up in the institute’s rankings based on an increase in overall student performance on provincial exams and also an increase in the percentage







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