The public interest group behind stittsvillepublichighschoolnow.com has posted an online survey to help gauge whether Stittsville requires a public high school.
Jennifer Smith is a member of the committee that officially branded themselves with a website and social media in April 2015. The primary issue, she said, is getting solid data on how many residents are choosing the Catholic or public high school route.
“Nobody has the numbers on this. Nobody tracks it,” she said. “We keep saying we’re caught in a catch-22 because we felt like we really needed to try to get some accuracy of what Stittsville residents have been doing in relation to the lack of access to a public high school.”
In November of last year, the French-Catholic Conseil des ecoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) began construction on a $27.1 million, 759-student capacity French high school in the Fernbank area on Abbot St.
Smith said she prefers that her middle-school-aged kids didn’t go to a faith-based high school.
“People in the public system made the decision not to send their children to faith-based school,” she said. “I really think if you want your children raised in Catholicism, you should be doing it yourself. The public system shouldn’t be paying for it.”
“If we don’t get it now or next year, they’re not going to do it until the population of Stittsville is burgeoning at the seams,” she said.
According to the 2011 census, Stittsville’s population was 25,775, an approximate growth of 36 per cent from 2006. And it shows no signs of slowing down.
The OCDSB must submit their expansion priority listing to the Ministry of Education by July 15.
A new Stittsville public high school is currently ranked number two on the Ottawa Carleton District School Board’s priority list.
Ward six councillor Shad Qadri says he supports what the group of residents is doing.
“The group is doing what it can and what it is able to do at the present time in terms of bringing the issue to the province through the survey,” Qadri said.
As of June 2, 1,270 people have taken the survey. Residents have until June 15 to complete it. After it closes, the Stittsville committee says they will arrange to present their findings to the OCDSB.
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