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Tuesday April 5th, 2011

Posted at 11:15am

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Photo By: Owen Wolter

Tonight at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Greater Essex County District School Board,  Director Warren Kennedy will present his recommendations of the future of schooling in West Windsor to School Board Trustees.

At the center of this is the fate of Benson Public School on Wyandotte Street West.  The school is under capacity in its present building.  It has a capacity for 585.5 students, but the board has a projected enrollment of 324 students. It’s actual enrollment for the 2010 school year is 309 students.

The recommendation of the Benson/ Taylor Planning committee to the director is that the School Board close J.E. Benson Public School and to make complete renovations needed to accommodate all of Benson’s students at the Taylor.

Benson School is one kilometre away from Taylor School.  Taylor is situated on a site of 8.5 acres. Its location at the front of the land results in a large expanse of land and still provides adequate green space. The enrollment at Taylor is also in a projected steady decline into the foreseeable future with a projection of only a 76% operating capacity by 2025 with 247 students.

Just seven years ago, it was a different story for the West side community.  Benson was to be replaced by a brand new school across the street in Wilson Park, in a land swap with the city.  This was to be funded by Prohibitive to Repair (PTR) grant.  For many reasons, the school board was unable to proceed. One being that the Wilson site could not accommodate the size of school that would have been necessary.  Other reasons are changing demographics in the area, as more and more families are moving out, and it becomes a larger community of University students.

This is just the latest in a series of school closures in that part of Windsor.  Last Year St. Francis Catholic school closed, and a number of years back Prince of Wales closed, and is now the site of the University of Windsor’s new engineering building.

After the Director makes his reconditions tonight, the final decision will come on April 19, 2011 when a final determination will be made by Trustees at the Board Meeting at 7:00  pm.

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