Gordon Graydon Closing Down 2019

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Bad news, everyone.

When we last heard about Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, it was facing the prospect of being shut down. This prospect is now a reality, with plans to have the school closed by June 2019, according to a recent article in the Mississauga News.

The closing process is well underway, with the Peel District School Board deciding on how to relocate Graydon's current services to four other secondary schools in Mississauga: Lorne Park, Glenforest, The Woodlands and T.L. Kennedy.

To accomplish this, the board is initiating a Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR), which they voted in favour of during their regular board meeting.

The board is deciding how to shuffle students and programs in the wake of the closure. The plan suggests moving Graydon's international business and technology program to T.L. Kennedy, while moving its vocational autism spectrum disorder and graphic design management programs to Glenforest. The PAR then proposes moving Glenforest's enhanced program to The Woodlands and Lorne Park.

The next step in the process is to set up an Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) consisting of school principals, superintendents and a parent representative from each affected secondary school. The ARC plans to begin meeting in May, but will not meet during the summer months.

“The committee will act as an information conduit with the community and provide feedback and advice on the initial staff report and may suggest changes,” said Randy Wright, the board’s controller of planning and accommodation support services, as reported by The News.

As mentioned in our previous article, Graydon's closing is motivated by low enrolment issues. Despite the capacity for 1,125 students, only 726 are enrolled.

“Although it’s unfortunate and it’s disappointing, it’s really not surprising with regard to Gordon Graydon Secondary School,” said Chair Janet McDougald, who also mentioned that trying to solve low enrolment in one school often has a "distinct domino effect," as reported by The News.

McDougald prefers to call the school's closing a "repurposing," as the plan suggests that Graydon could become the new Adult Learning Centre, which is currently located on Elm Drive.

Interestingly enough, the issue of low-enrolment isn't specific to Graydon. According to The News, Mississauga resident and former school trustee John Walmark noted that south Mississauga is a "microcosm of declining enrolment across the province" and that "the issue isn't going away." Walmark suggested the Peel and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Boards consider sharing services, especially in the wake of Ontario's mounting debt, saying, "we can't afford to run two parallel systems, fully funded."

So while the news isn't unexpected, it is disheartening to students who call (and who have called) the school home. The news is sadder still considering Graydon students got some very positive press last month regarding their students' rock star performances in a prestigious Samsung competition.

What do you think about Graydon closing down? Is it truly indicative of a larger problem in Ontario -- namely, is it time to amalgamate the public and Catholic school boards?

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