n its ongoing struggle with declining enrolment and shrinking funding, the Lambton Kent District School Board is moving ahead with a review of the future of four Forest-area schools.
This week, school board trustees accepted a recommendation from administrators to form an accommodation review committee to consider a plan to close Aberarder Central School, Bosanquet Central School, and North Lambton Secondary School, and send their students to a kindergarten through Grade 12 school proposed for the Kinnwood Central School site in Forest.
A staff report that came with the recommendation lays out a schedule of working meetings and public meetings for the committee of staff, students, parents and community representatives, leading to a final recommendation to the board in March.
“We recognize these are not easy conversations for any community,” said Gary Girardi, the school board’s superintendent of capital planning and accommodation.
While the board has been working hard to keep as many of its schools open as it can, “we can’t change the fact that we have fewer students and less funding,” he said.
“We need to provide the best education we can for students, but we also have to be fiscally responsible.”
The consolidation plan, if trustees vote in March to move ahead with it, would see the board apply for Ministry of Education funding to build a new Grade 7 to 12 section at the Kinnwood school site.