Long-term Capital and Accommodation Plan + options

HPEDSB releases Long-term Capital and Accommodation Plan with options for consideration
Posted on 02/28/2023
HPE News

February 28, 2023—School boards are required to have long-term capital plans to address pupil accommodation and programming needs. These plans provide a system-wide assessment and synopsis of student accommodation, including opportunities, challenges and limitations.

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) recently updated the Long-term Capital and Accommodation Plan (LTCAP). Prepared in conjunction with Watson and Associates Economists Ltd., which also works with area municipalities, the plan includes enrolment projections, school information (building capacity, number of portables, utilization rates), programming, attendance/boundary areas, community use of schools and transportation. It is a dynamic document, meaning it will be updated as new information becomes available.

“There’s a lot of interest in this plan because it presents opportunities and challenges about space in schools. It’s clear that status quo isn’t an option, something has to be done,” said Nick Pfeiffer, Superintendent of Business. “Releasing the updated plan is a first step in a series of actions that will happen over the coming months. The document is a starting point for conversations about next steps. We will be doing public consultation to explore options and all voices will be welcome.”

Although the LTCAP outlines options for consideration, it does not present any decisions. The options are a starting point to begin conversations with school communities and the public. HPEDSB is taking an open and transparent approach through this process and will be engaging with stakeholders to learn about additional ideas to address enrolment pressures and surplus space.

Following a period of declining enrolment, student enrolment is increasing due to population growth in certain areas. The LTCAP identifies that HPEDSB is experiencing increased enrolment at some schools in the Belleville-Trenton corridor, while others in the same areas have a significant amount of excess space. 

School boards have the following options to address accommodation needs:

  • close or consolidate schools (unavailable due to a 2017 moratorium);

  • adjust programming;

  • change attendance/boundary area;

  • create split classes/grades;

  • add portables; or

  • adjust policies for students who live outside the school district region. 

School closures or consolidations require public consultation, known as accommodation reviews. There is currently a moratorium on accommodation reviews by the Ministry of Education, limiting the ability of school boards to plan for the future.

HPEDSB statistics

  • Elementary enrolment, Kindergarten to Grade 8, is projected to increase to approximately 11,515 students by 2031-2032, from 10,702 today, representing an 8% increase

  • Secondary enrolment, Grades 9 to 12, is projected to increase to approximately 5,135 students by 2031-2032, from 4,640 today, representing an 11% increase

  • Presently there are 4,044 surplus spaces in schools: 2,942 elementary and 1,102 secondary

  • The average age of schools is 61 years

  • The 5-year renewal cost for all schools is approximately $214 million

The LTCAP was first created in 2016, with the last update in November 2021. It is a planning document meant to guide capital and accommodation decisions. Funding formula changes for school operations indicate that it will not be possible to operate and maintain existing facilities at the current level of utilization. By responsibly managing school space, education funds can be focused on student needs, achievement and well-being.

HPEDSB serves approximately 15,300 students each day at 39 in-person schools (32 elementary, two K-12; four 7-12, one secondary) and one K-8 virtual school. The district covers a geographic area of 7,220 square kilometres bordered by Maynooth to the north, Deseronto to the east, Prince Edward County to the south and Quinte West to the west.