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Will province fund two public high schools in North Bay?

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Trustees for the Near North District School Board are recommending a three-to-two public high school approach, but there are many details left to be decided.

A meeting of the committee of the whole last week saw a divided group of trustees reach a consensus that Widdifield Secondary School would be closed, while schools in some form would remain at the current Chippewa and West Ferris sites.

A vote will be taken at the September 26 board meeting and Chair David Thompson expects the vote will confirm the earlier committee recommendation. All of the school board trustees also sit on the committee of the whole.

When asked if the funding will be there for two high schools to be refurbished and remain open, Thompson replied the question would be a good one for Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter.

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Thompson adds that he has seen, and it is not uncommon for recommendations from local school boards to be turned down by the province for various reasons, especially changes to the province’s funding formula.

A groundswell of support to keep the south end site (where West Ferris sits) open was on display in the spring when trustees were thought to be ready to review reports from the board and ARC committee and make a decision on public high schools in North Bay.

A late change in the rules on how to decide these school questions by the provincial government led to the decision being put off until late summer.

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