LKDSB to sell former Chatham school to help reduce deficit

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By Blake Ellis
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Petrolia Independent

Lambton Kent District School Board will be selling the John N. Given Learning Centre in Chatham.

Associate Director Brian McKay told trustees the sale of the Churchill Street property is due to the school board experiencing a deficit in its current school year’s budget. This way the school board can deal with its deficit pressures without impacting students, he said

John N. Given Public School closed in 2018 with its Kindergarten to Grade 8 students moving to Tecumseh Public School while the French Immersion students in Grade 7 and 8 went to McNaughton Avenue Public School. The building was then turned into the learning centre, as the adult and continuing education program and alternative special education programs, such as the positive alternative to suspension from school were brought together under one roof.

It costs $300,000 annually to operate John N. Given Education Centre, said McKay.  The school board is facing a $1,781,000 deficit for the current school year, something that was reduced from $2,610,000 when the budget was first passed due to increased enrolment and savings in bussing costs.

Money from the a sale will go into the school board’s accumulated surplus and will need to be used for the building of a new school or an major addition. How Lambton Kent spends this money will need to be approved by the ministry of education. There is a possibility this could be used for the new Kindergarten to Grade 12 Lambton Shores Community School, said McKay.

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