St. Ambroise Elementary School To Remain Open

St. Ambroise elementary school in St. Joachim will stay open...for now.

French Catholic School Board trustees have voted to keep the school open indefinitely while more information is gathered.

Back in November, the potential closure was announced, but the board has scrapped that plan after a major push back from the community.

Parent, Crystal Ducharme, calls is a "small victory", but admits the fight isn't over.

She says parents don't like the uncertainty.

"The modified recommendation was to keep it open and revisit the whole process in two years. Though the recommendation was adopted, they took the timeline out altogether. So they're basically saying that as soon as they get the information that they're waiting for they can re-start the process and try to close our school again."

Director of Education, Joseph Picard, says the board is waiting for more information from the Town of Lakeshore.

"We're not sure, as to what, currently right now the growth in Lakeshore is. We know that it probably impacts two of our schools, but we're waiting for more information and hopefully that will be forthcoming as to what the growth patterns are and in what areas because that becomes very important."

Ducharme says closing the school would devastate many families.

"It's a very tight community. Our community is very small. We've already lost our church. To lose the school as well would just be a heartbreak. Those of us who came from there, we know our roots, and we like to keep our roots."

She says the school has a passionate group of parents.

"We do have a strong group and it keeps growing at each meeting and we're not going to back down. So if they start this up again in September we're going to be ready. We've already looked into further resources and what we need to do."

Picard says the board is looking to improve communication going forward.

"The parents brought forth, in a very professional manner, certain elements for consideration by the school board and we did so. The school board listened to those elements obviously. It's the intention of the board to be very transparent and communicate that information to the parents and we will be doing so going forward."


Parents gather at a French Catholic School Board meeting regarding the closure of St. Ambroise elementary (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Picard adds adjusting boundaries will be looked at as well as the current ones are quite old.

Over the past four months St. Ambroise parents have gathered more than 900 signatures opposing the closure.

Had the plan been approved the 110 students would have been split between St. Paul elementary in Stoney Point and Pavillon des Jeunes in Belle River.