EMSB officially closing 3 schools at the end of the school year

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Three east end EMSB schools will close in 2020 because of declining enrolment and an "exodus" of English-speaking families from the area, trustee Marlene Jennings announced on Monday.

John Paul I Junior High, General Vanier Elementaryand St. Dorothy Elementary schools will close at the end of the school year. Their deeds will be revoked on June. 30, 2020.

St. Dorothy Elementary School students will be rezoned to attend Our Lady of Pompeii Elementary School, Jennings announced. The two schools both had low attendance and were close to each other, she said.

John Paul I Junior High School will officially shut down and students will be transferred to Laurier MacDonald High School (the school had previously been transferred to the Pointe-de-l'Ile School Board (CSPI) and students had already been attending Laurier Macdonald High School). Laurier MacDonald will offer secondary one through five.

General Vanier Elementary School, in St. Leonard, will also officially close in June 2020, Jennings announced.

General Vanier Elementary School had also been previously transferred to the CSPI in the summer of 2019, but some parents had hoped the EMSB would renew the school's deed at a different building.

Students who attended General Vanier Elementary School will be rezoned to attend either Dante Elementary School or Pierre-de-Coubertin Elementary School, Jennings said. Those who already attend Pierre-de-Coubertin Elementary School who find themselves in the Dante Elementary School area, however, will be allowed to continue to attend Pierre-de-Coubertin Elementary School until the end of the 2022 school year.

Monday's school changes come as a consequence of lower attendance at some EMSB schools and French schools in the east end that lack space.

Earlier this month, the EMSB held hearings and a committee proposed several scenarios to manage school changes.

The decision to close schools hasn't come easy, Jennings said.

"In an ideal situation, we would not have to close English schools. In an ideal situation, there would be as many English families as there were two generations ago--but that is not our current reality," Jennings said.

English families have fled the Montreal area in the past decade and laws have limited access to English schools, Jennings said.

Jennings announced no changes for Lester B. Pearson High School or any other EMSB school. No changes were necessary for those schools, she said.