Parents scramble to make back-up plans amid John Fisher turmoil

Parents scramble to make back-up plans amid John Fisher turmoil

When Colleen Rabie’s youngest daughter starts Grade 2 next fall, she could be walking through the doors of her third new public school in four years. Rabie is struggling to get her head around that possibility in the wake of controversial plans to erect a 35-storey tower next to John Fisher Public School near Yonge and Eglinton.The situation means distressed parents like Rabie are threatening to pull their children from the French immersion school because of safety concerns and the chance it will be moved to another site 6 kilometres away. It also has the Toronto District School Board scrambling to find alternative spots in neighbourhood schools.The problem is most schools don’t have room for kids who leave John Fisher, which has 500 students.“In the board’s long-term planning, it was never anticipated that we could have a mass exodus from one of the schools,” says trustee Gerri Gershon, who calls it a unique situation. Article Continued BelowIn an attempt to manage the ripple effect, she and trustee Shelley Laskin are proposing a motion at a TDSB board meeting this week for a special process to decide where to place students, many of whom could end up out of their catchment areas. “It’s a real dilemma,” says Gershon. “The local schools are full and some of them are over-capacity. We will do our absolute best to accommodate parents where we can, but we have a school system to run and we cannot overcrowd the schools or overcrowd the classrooms.”Eglinton Avenue Public School stands to be the most affected as the English-language home school for 200 kids currently at John Fisher.

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