If you asked around to see how many public high schools would be in a community of almost 30,000, the answer would rarely be zero. But unfortunately, that’s the case in Stittsville, where students have to travel over 15 kilometres to attend the nearest public high school. Not surprisingly, many student switch to the Catholic system or move to other schools to avoid this trip.
That alone should be reason enough for there to be a public high school in Stittsville. But when you factor in the growth over the next decade or two, the case becomes even more compelling. Stittsville is the fastest growing community in the City of Ottawa and is projected to reach 51,000 residents by 2021 and 71,000 by 2031.
So why has a public high school not already been built? The main reason given is that South Carleton, where over 500 students from Stittsville go today, is under capacity. But it’s not like it’s half full or anything. There are only a couple hundred empty spots and the village of Richmond is also growing so the capacity will be needed there in the not too distant future.
If you factor in the number of students that switch to the Catholic system, which was conservatively estimated at 10-15%, then South Carleton would not only be full but the over capacity at Sacred Heart would be reduced making this a win-win for both school systems. A new public high school in Stittsville could also address expansion needs for A.Y. Jackson and West Carleton high schools, as the proposed location for the Stittsville high school could serve western Kanata and even Carp
Other Ontario communities the size of Stittsville have two or more English language public high schools. Orangeville, which is similar in size to Stittsville today, has 2 public high schools while Sarnia, which has over 70,000 residents, currently has 4 English language public high schools. Will Stittsville have even one by the time it reaches that size in 2031?
A new public high school in Stittsville is needed to address the immediate and future needs of Stittsville residents. Our children shouldn’t have to make the difficult choice between a long bus ride or switching schools and instead focus on their education close to home.
Our committee of concerned parents is building support in the community and making presentations to the OCDSB and the Ministry of Education over the upcoming weeks and months. Help us by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, leaving a comment below, filling in our upcoming survey, and joining our mailing list to get updates.