PEMBROKE – St. Mary’s Catholic School in Wilno and St. Casimir’s Catholic School in Round Lake Centre will officially close.
Trustees made the decision at the May 26 Renfrew County Catholic District School Board meeting in Pembroke.
All trustees were in attendance, including chairperson Bob Michaud, who presented the two recommendations made by the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC.)
The ARC was set up a year ago to review five schools including St. Andrew’s in Killaloe, George Vanier in Combermere and St. John Bosco in Barry’s Bay. The ARC conducted 10 committee meetings and four public meetings and came up with the recommendation to close St. Mary’s and St. Casimir’s.
Ultimately, the decision was in the hands of the trustees. When the first motion was brought to the table on Monday night, which focused on the closure of St. Casimir’s, it was met with little discussion.
Trustee Marlene Borutski, whose children graduated from the school, said it was a very sad day for her. But she said the school is experiencing declining enrolment.
“We cannot go back, we must go forward,” she said, adding that she would like a recorded vote on the matter.
Trustee Anne Haley said St. Casimir’s is practically closing itself.
“When I visited the school earlier this month, of the nine students attending, five were graduating, two were moving west and there were no new ones coming in,” she said. “Based on this, I support the motion to close St. Casimir’s.”
In the recorded vote, all six trustees voted in favour to close St. Casimir’s effective August 31, 2014. Students for the upcoming school year will transfer to St. Andrew’s Catholic School in Killaloe.
The second motion focused on closing St. Mary’s Catholic School and drew a lengthy conversation from the trustees. Several members from the St. Mary’s school community attended the meeting to hear firsthand their decision.
“I realize there is a lot of history and history in itself is great,” trustee David Howard said. “But the future is what we have to worry about.”
Get your May 28, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.