Second City, Second Metro: Public School Board in Search of “an enlarged administrative area.”

The Ottawa Public School Board’s submission to the Jones Commission made it clear that its boundary should be the outer edge of the greenbelt.

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The students' interests and school planning efficiency will be best served if public elementary education within the outer limits of the Greenbelt is the responsibility of the Board, with the later formation of a Board of Education once public elementary and secondary school systems in this area are established.

The Greenbelt contains the the central Ottawa region and prevents the extension of built-up urban areas; it divides the County into two distinct parts or administrative areas of dissimilar functions. The area within the outer greenbelt limits provides a compact region for easy school administration.

Although all Ontario communities can provide a good elementary education for their students, a more diversified education can only be provided by a large system with technical knowledge, experience and personnel. For instance, the Intermediate or Senior system (Grades 7 and 8) with its social, psychological and academic benefits cannot be adequately provided by the smaller school area but could be provided for the suggested enlarged area as it has been in the Ottawa school system since 1929.

The pupils of this enlarged administrative area like Ottawa public school pupils would be provided with special classes for the mentally, emotionally and physically disabled with psychological, medical and dental services and with qualified instruction in a broad and diversified curriculum. Such an area program would be impossible under several units of school administration.

The present cooperative relations between the Public School Board and the Collegiate Institute Board are of a high

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standard; students and educational standards alike would not benefit additionally from the formation of a Board of Education until the problems of amalgamation are solved. It is however likely that such a public school administrative board for kindergarten to Grade 13 will come eventually.



The brief was presented by Mr. W. T. MacSkimming, Chief Inspector, Mr. Kenneth A. Murchison and Mrs. W. Ambridge, members of the Board.

It was explained that the outer Greenbelt limits were chosen as an administrative boundary since it was felt that the scattered Greenbelt settlements might present an administrative problem and that the larger central authority might be in a better financial position to assume the responsibility. This organizational system could be expanded to provide central educational facilities in areas of substantial development outside the Greenbelt.

To explain further, it was felt unrealistic to incorporate Torbolton students into the Ottawa system just because they are County residents; they are much closer to Arnprior facilities. For the present time, the Greenbelt seems the obvious boundary for the creation of administrative regions.

The suburban areas cannot afford to provide all the educational services of the Ottawa schools. Yet, and Ottawa standard of eduction was provided to the 1950 annexed portions with about a 4 mill increase to taxpayers; adequate representation has never been a problem and now 6 of the 9 Board members are from the 1950 annexed portions.

It was felt that a Board of Education would not necessarily benefit the area's school system but that such administration

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was inevitable; the Board's "intermediate" schools assist in the smooth student transfer from elementary to secondary level.

It was suggested that an elected body might not be appropriate over a larger area as present problems arising from a poorly informed electorate would be compounded with the right sort of candidate being little known. The capable appointed members of the Collegiate Institute Board are removed from the political aspects and the ordeals of election. Further, many good men unable to communicate with the public are lost to elected Boards.

It was not considered essential that a centralized government be a prerequisite for a centralized school system, rather the system might take the form of a union school district with several areas participating on a designated basis.