IDCI not at risk of closure

By John Tapley, Ingersoll Times

Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute. INGERSOLL TIMES File Photo

Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute. INGERSOLL TIMES File Photo

Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute (IDCI) isn't at risk for closure, despite concern expressed by a town staff member after a meeting between Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) and County of Oxford officials.


Sandra Lawson, Ingersoll's engineer, represented the town at TVDSB's annual community planning and facility collaboration meeting on June 15 and highlighted concern about the school's future in her monthly report to council.


“IDCI is at about 67% capacity but still able to to provide a large range of core programs,” Lawson wrote. “Of concern for Ingersoll is that Woodstock Collegiate Institute is running at just over 55% capacity and the board is looking at ways to increase enrolment to be able to provide sufficient core programing.”


Lawson wrote that without growth in the IDCI area “there is a long term risk that the high school could be lost, and the students bused to Woodstock.”


During discussion on her report, Lawson said closing IDCI hasn't been identified as a possibility yet, but “reading between the lines” she is concerned because of its capacity issue.


“If we don't see an increase in enrolment, you never know what they're going to do.”


Kevin Bushell, executive officer of facility services and capital planning with TVDSB, confirmed that IDCI is at about 66% capacity, which puts it about the middle of the pack among the board's 27 secondary schools.


“At no point did we say Ingersoll was targeted for a review,” said Bushell about what was discussed at the meeting. “It's no more in danger than any of the other high schools in Thames Valley right now.”


The five secondary schools in Oxford have a combined accommodation capacity of 73.6%.


Bushell said IDCI is capable of accommodating 1,191 students and currently has 780 full-time equivalents.


Enrolment is expected to stay relatively stable for the next decade.


Bushell said the school board meets annually with officials from the counties it serves to share information on its long term accommodation planning. The sessions are also aimed at receiving information from community organizations that may assist with managing excess space, projecting future needs and identifying opportunities for facility collaborations, he said.


In 2016, the community planning and facility collaboration meetings focused on the board's elementary school numbers and plans. Bushell said this year the spotlight was on secondary schools and the board's Rethink Secondary initiative.


“Our commitment is to redesign secondary learning environments to create opportunities for students and staff that are driven by global competencies,” wrote Laura Elliott, TVDSB's director of education, about Rethink Secondary. “These competencies are critical for our learners to be curious and knowledgeable about our world today and tomorrow.”


Bushell said IDCI has an opportunity to be reinvented “so to speak” to offer different programs.


“We're trying to get more equity and opportunities to our kids,” he said. “It doesn't mean at the end of the day that a small school has to close.”


All of the information discussed at the June 15 meeting between the TVDSB and Oxford County representatives is available on the internet at: final oxford cpfco package.pdf